Am I obligated to return overpayment?

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LW Bercini

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A year ago, the company where I had worked for 26 years, laid me off.


Today, I received a letter from them, that they had overpaid my severance pay by $2K, and instructed me to return the money.

What are your thoughts?
 
I doubt anyone here can say for sure. It likely depends on your state laws and any contracts signed. I expect you would need a lawyer to sort it out if you want to fight it. You might also try your state department of labor. I know here, a company I worked at tried something similar with a friend that left the company and got smacked down for it once the state was made aware of it. Not exactly the same situation, but if there are state protections available, the department of labor would likely know about it. If you were a member of a union, you might contact them as well.
 
I'm not a lawyer but you may wish to get a quick opinion from one in your state.

But what I would do depends on the paperwork.

If they said "As severance, we are giving you $x" and you signed something to this effect as part of your exit process , and they paid you $x+2000, then you should consider negotiating with them for a reasonable repayment considering tax implications (did you pay taxes on the $2000 etc) and so on. To some extent, you should have noticed the error, like getting excess change back from a cashier.

If the problem was in their process (they miscalculated benefits and told you you receive $x, but now realized they should have paid you $x-$2000), I would politely tell them to pound sand, including a copy of whatever paperwork you received citing the $x exit payment.

Best wishes.
 
If you accidentally overpaid a rocket vendor for a product do you think they would be obligated to refund the overpayment?
 
Letter? What letter? Seriously. Did they send it registered mail?

Unless you work for the federal government I doubt that they can force you to repay due to their mistake. See if you can find a pro bono lawyer to give you some advice on the matter.
 
If they laid you off, and THEY made a mistake on the pay, I recommend ignore the letter. Trying to think the worst that can happen. I am guessing if they elected to take it to court, at the point they get serious you pay the $2k rather than fight the legal battle. I doubt they would go that far, cost them more to take it to court than the 2k.

Btw, if you do end up paying it back make sure you get an adjusted w2 so you get the taxes back.
 
First of all, check your W2 to see if they actually paid you the 2K. If they did and you have a letter saying your compensation is X, then I'd ignore it at least until they start threatening harder. If they threaten or you don't have a letter, I'd call your state Attorney General's consumer protection line to find out what your rights and responsibilities are. They probably aren't the right place to ask, but they can point you the right way. If the W2 doesn't match what you were actually paid, then consult a private lawyer. That gets really sticky really fast.
 
Coming after you for $2K after they laid you off seems rather sleazy to me and not worth their effort. As others have said, run the numbers. If you think you deserve the money tell them that. Personally, I would stall and be evasive to see how persistent they are. My guess is they won't work too hard at it unless they are supreme jerks. How much are they willing to spend to recover $2K? But always be polite. Nothing gets people in a determined mood to recover something than someone who is a jerk.
 
I don't have much different to say than anything anybody else has said.

1. If they didn't send the letter registered mail, pretend it never came. Nothing is serious until a document comes to you registered/certified mail or something you sign for, or you get served like a court document service.

2. Forewarned is forearmed...if this was a poker game, they just showed you their hand. Now it is your turn to find out what the labor laws are in your state. Find out what the precedence is, so you know how to respond to the *next* letter they send...maybe you do have to return the money, but maybe you don't. Or, it might be an open question that would cost more than 2k to settle...
 
Were you the only one that got laid off? Did others? Did others get a similar letter? Contact them, and see about a group action plan.. Then contact the company, a lawyer, local employment office, etc..

(One place I worked at, had a lay off, 4 people I think. they then banded together, and made a case for unfair severances.. They won.)
 
Okay ... hopefully by now LW sees that there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question!
 
Coming after you for $2K after they laid you off seems rather sleazy to me and not worth their effort.

You think that is bad.... My mother used to work as a receptionist for a doctor. She passed away and he had his lawyer send a letter to sue her estate for a $20 fee that she owed. Really. $20. Granted, this was almost 40 years ago so $20 was worth a bit more but..... $20. ???

I spoke to the lawyer and asked if this wouldn't cost more than the $20? He agreed to drop it.
 

This is where you send them a package with 2001 pennies mixed up in a bunch of styrofoam peanuts. Then write them a letter asking for your 1 cent back.
 
This is where you send them a package with 2001 pennies mixed up in a bunch of styrofoam peanuts. Then write them a letter asking for your 1 cent back.

Each penny wrapped in clear packing tape!
 
You're in GA....I'm in Ga..unless laws have changed, I would think same applies to you.


Back in 90's similar payment of 1400.00 happened to me. I had a lawyer buddy on speed dial.
Anyhow answer is NO, you do not have to pay it back. Of course being worried a bit I ask him to expound further.
''If they had any legal grounds, they would have had a judgement against you [me] and they would have attached your checking/savings what ever liquid assets you have. They don''t have any ground to stand on other than forcibly ask you return they moola"

Once paid they can't get it back, unless in your case their is some clause in your severance package specifically stating they could. In that case you can assume they would have referenced said clause in letter sent to you.

After a second letter sent to me I replied back: Further contact regarding this matter should be sent to my attorney & supplied his address. Never heard from them again.

Edit:

10 years ago my insurance Co. said they overpaid my claim by 640.00, according to them, what I got did not fully cover the loss,just weeks later they "demanded" repayment.
I kept it and told them politely go pound salt, once again they had no legal ground to stand on. No my homeowners policy did not go up, nor did they cancel me. The only recourse either instance they had, would have been to cancel the check before it was cashed & re-issue another one in correct amount. Apparently this has been 'tested' in court.
 
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Once paid they can't get it back, unless in your case their is some clause in your severance package specifically stating they could. In that case you can assume they would have referenced said clause in letter sent to you.

One of the members of my regular Wednesday "lunch bunch" is a lawyer. I'm taking the letter and the severance agreement to show her. IIRC, the severance agreement does not specify a specific dollar amount, but only describes compensation for a specific number of weeks and vacation pay, minus taxes, etc. I'm pretty sure I can tacitly tell them to "pound salt"
 
Send them a registered letter letting them know that you charge for keeping other peoples money in your account. Let them know that $2000 in storage for a year cost $4000. As soon as they pay you what they owe, you will return their money.
 
i had a wee bit of a bank problem about 10 years ago. decided to close my account and move to another bank. not a major amount- only $3500 in my account. i got my cash out of one bank and went straight to another to open an account. got everything set, handed my envelope from the other ban with the (supposedly) $3500 in it. banker lady counted it and said,"do you want to hold on to this other thousand or put it into your account,too?"
huh? i wasnt sure what to do but the banker lady was right up on those types of laws and explained it all pretty good to me, then said,"they must be giving out christmas bonuses this year to people that close accounts there."
got a letter a bit later from old bank. took it into new bank to banker lady. she printed off the proper pages of banking laws and suggested when i send it to them to add,"have a nice day."
in the end, the teller was responsible for extra thousand.
seems it would be similar in your situation- accounting would be responsible for THEIR mistake.
 
Maybe, but ya gotta watch out for the pud-knockers, they are worse than schmucks...

HahaAAA. Nah. Pud knockers didn't make the cut, but they still flew something. You really gotta watch out for the launch pad and hanger rats at launch sites and airports. Now unlike pud knocker they'll just sit around and grumble then mooch for days without flying.
 
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