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  • FIRST POST
    tangletop
    0 WOW
    Cheque received in error - can I keep it?
    • #1
    • 21st Oct 08, 8:01 PM
    0 WOW
    Cheque received in error - can I keep it? 21st Oct 08 at 8:01 PM
    Quick question (hopefully): I've just received a cheque for several hundred pounds from a large company. I think this is in error, however the cheque has my name on it and was posted to my address. I've paid it into my account, but can they reclaim it, if it's their error? How long do they have to reclaim if they are entitled to? I have no particular moral qualms about keeping the money (they stitched me up a few years back, not for money but caused me a huge amount of trouble) but I don't want to be on the wrong side of the law, or use the money and then find they can claim it back.

    Thanks for any advice!
Page 1
    • latecomer
    • By latecomer 21st Oct 08, 10:32 PM
    • 4,601 Posts
    • 2,620 Thanks
    latecomer
    • #2
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:32 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:32 PM
    Of course they can reclaim it as it belongs to them, not you. Its a bit like you giving someone your car keys and them keeping your car.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 21st Oct 08, 10:35 PM
    • 11,926 Posts
    • 8,078 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    • #3
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:35 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:35 PM
    Put the money into a savings account, at the highest interest rate you can get. If they ask for it back you will have to repay it (you might ask for reasonable time to pay) but at least you will have the interest.
    • McKneff
    • By McKneff 21st Oct 08, 10:46 PM
    • 35,844 Posts
    • 46,162 Thanks
    McKneff
    • #4
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:46 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Oct 08, 10:46 PM
    you said only that you think its in error, did it have a remittance advice with it or a letter to say what it's for. We may be able to verify it and it will at least stop you thinking about it if it is indeed legit. (and you could have a spending spree)
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • tangletop
    • #5
    • 23rd Oct 08, 7:13 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Oct 08, 7:13 PM
    It just had the cheque counterfoil thing. I did an article for them years ago, at first I thought maybe they'd just reused the article and paid again for it but I'm not sure as the title on the counterfoil doesn't make sense. But I don't read the publication concerned so I've no idea if they reused it or not, or if they would pay again if they did.

    How long would they get to reclaim it, does anyone know?
    • geordie joe
    • By geordie joe 23rd Oct 08, 9:28 PM
    • 8,399 Posts
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    geordie joe
    • #6
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:28 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:28 PM
    Of course they can reclaim it as it belongs to them, not you.
    Originally posted by latecomer
    Why? They gave it to him/her so how does it belong to them still?

    If it had been a toaster they sent, it would be an unsolicited gift, so why can't a cheque be an unsolicited gift.

    If it were me I'd cash it but hold onto it, then if they wanted it back I'd make them fight for it.

    As the OP says

    "(they stitched me up a few years back, not for money but caused me a huge amount of trouble)"

    So now it's pay back time.
  • moonrakerz
    • #7
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:38 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:38 PM
    Put the money into a savings account, at the highest interest rate you can get.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002

    I've heard some of the Icelandic banks pay good interest rates !
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 23rd Oct 08, 9:41 PM
    • 61,570 Posts
    • 360,572 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    • #8
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:41 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Oct 08, 9:41 PM
    Six years they have to reclaim it.
  • SpoonyOh
    • #9
    • 23rd Oct 08, 11:22 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Oct 08, 11:22 PM
    Put the money into a savings account, at the highest interest rate you can get. If they ask for it back you will have to repay it (you might ask for reasonable time to pay) but at least you will have the interest.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    Exactly what I wanted to say. If they realise they've made a mistake, they'll get in touch quickly enough. Since you're not liable for their accounts department, surely it's not really up to you to get it verified.
    • jonesMUFCforever
    • By jonesMUFCforever 24th Oct 08, 12:06 AM
    • 24,432 Posts
    • 11,718 Thanks
    jonesMUFCforever
    It just had the cheque counterfoil thing. I did an article for them years ago, at first I thought maybe they'd just reused the article and paid again for it but I'm not sure as the title on the counterfoil doesn't make sense. But I don't read the publication concerned so I've no idea if they reused it or not, or if they would pay again if they did.

    How long would they get to reclaim it, does anyone know?
    Originally posted by tangletop
    I can almost guarantee you that this is a cheque fraud.
    You were silly indeed in paying it in.
    The scam works like this - you pay it in - it goes through clearing cycle and may be some time before accounts dept. of drawer chases this up with their bank and debits your account back (2-4-6 does not apply when there has been fraud on clearing cycle).
    Next part of scam is that you will either get a phone call or e-mail saying it has all been a mistake and that could you please return the money to them - you do so using your own cheque.
    You surely have worked out the rest - original cheque bounces back so you are now down by amount you refunded - as you paid cheque in bank may think you are a party to the fraud.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always receive lots
  • snake16
    I can almost guarantee you that this is a cheque fraud.
    You were silly indeed in paying it in.
    The scam works like this - you pay it in - it goes through clearing cycle and may be some time before accounts dept. of drawer chases this up with their bank and debits your account back (2-4-6 does not apply when there has been fraud on clearing cycle).
    Next part of scam is that you will either get a phone call or e-mail saying it has all been a mistake and that could you please return the money to them - you do so using your own cheque.
    You surely have worked out the rest - original cheque bounces back so you are now down by amount you refunded - as you paid cheque in bank may think you are a party to the fraud.
    Originally posted by jonesMUFCforever
    But the OP has had a relationship with the issuing company in the past, so the most likely reasons are that as the OP suggested, a) it is owed & they just cant work out why or b) it is an accounting error, so therefore sit back & wait for it to be reclaimed.

    But if it is a fraud as you describe, simple, when they ask for their money back contact them & tell them you will check your records but due to books being with accountant or something similar it will be a week or two. Then wait for a couple of weeks to confirm that the money has not already been withdrawn.

    I am often paid money that I am not owed into my business account due to my customers operating errors. They normally come back to me when they have had an audit, when, of course, I reimburse them:confused:
  • tangletop
    I'm pretty sure it's genuine - as I say it's a big company, the header on the counterfoil etc looks genuine and I've worked with them in the past.

    Thanks everyone for your help anyway - will leave it in the bank and see what happens I guess. Still don't entirely understand how they can claim it back (I'm sure if I sent someone a cheque and then claimed it was an accident, my bank wouldn't be terribly helpful!) but I'll see what they do.
  • tangletop
    Thinking about it - there's no way they'd get it back twice anyway. I put it in an ISA with no overdraft facility and no other money in it. I can't even write a cheque on that account - bank drafts only - so I won't even wind up with a bounced cheque fee if they tried to claim it back and I sent it back separately.
  • uktyler
    So you cashed a cheque you knew you were not entitled to?

    IMO that's theft.
  • dee mum of 3
    it was sent to the poster with his name on and his address he didnt steal it so how is that theft?
    dee mum of 3 "before you buy ...think,how many hours have i worked to pay for this?,do i need it? or can i get it r&r in tesco!! hee heee
  • uktyler

    it was sent to the poster with his name on and his address he didnt steal it so how is that theft?
    Originally posted by dee mum of 3
    If the cheque was sent in error, then the OP has no right to the money.

    By cashing it the OP has claimed it as theirs, when it isn't.
    • geordie joe
    • By geordie joe 27th Oct 08, 7:51 PM
    • 8,399 Posts
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    geordie joe
    If the cheque was sent in error, then the OP has no right to the money.

    By cashing it the OP has claimed it as theirs, when it isn't.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    We haven't established that it was sent in error. The OP has reason to believe it may be a legitimate payment.

    Even if it is an error and the OP spends the money, a court won't punish him/her for making a mistake which arose from the company's mistake. Not when he/she had good reason to think it was a legitimate payment.

    They may make him/her pay the money back, but it will be at monthly payments that won't cause him/her undue hardship.
  • uktyler
    We haven't established that it was sent in error. The OP has reason to believe it may be a legitimate payment.

    Even if it is an error and the OP spends the money, a court won't punish him/her for making a mistake which arose from the company's mistake. Not when he/she had good reason to think it was a legitimate payment.

    They may make him/her pay the money back, but it will be at monthly payments that won't cause him/her undue hardship.
    Originally posted by geordie joe
    In the first post the OP states 'I think this is in error'. So instead of contacting them to ask what it is, and if they are entitled to it, they put it in the bank.

    If this was an administrative !!!! up there may be someone that is legitimately owed the money, and will now have to wait while it is sorted out.

    If Tesco make a mistake on your home delivery and sent you a laptop, would you keep it?

    The OP could of contacted the sender, asked them what this was for, and then if they were entitled to it cashed it. If they were not entitled to it they could of charged them a few quid for returning it.

    Now the OP does not know if it is the senders, or theirs. They can't spend it for six years, and now can't contact them to see if it is legitimate because they have cashed it.

    One simple phone call could of sorted it out at the start.
    • geordie joe
    • By geordie joe 27th Oct 08, 9:46 PM
    • 8,399 Posts
    • 8,454 Thanks
    geordie joe
    In the first post the OP states 'I think this is in error'. So instead of contacting them to ask what it is, and if they are entitled to it, they put it in the bank.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    In post 5 they state

    "I did an article for them years ago, at first I thought maybe they'd just reused the article and paid again for it"

    It is quite common for people to think one thing is correct, then to have doubts/second thoughts later.

    If this was an administrative !!!! up there may be someone that is legitimately owed the money, and will now have to wait while it is sorted out.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    There's that word "IF" again. You keep saying "if it is an error" but treating the OP as if it has been proved it was an error. In my mind the OP will remain innocent until proven guilty, beyond all reasonable doubt.

    If Tesco make a mistake on your home delivery and sent you a laptop, would you keep it?
    Originally posted by uktyler
    Well if I ordered a tin of beans from them and they sent a laptop I would assume it was a mistake. But if they said "Send us a written article and if we publish it we will give you a laptop". And if they sent a second laptop some time later I may assume that they had used the article again.

    The OP could of contacted the sender, asked them what this was for, and then if they were entitled to it cashed it. If they were not entitled to it they could of charged them a few quid for returning it.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    Or they could have assumed the money was payment for reusing the article and banked it. Then later had doubts/second thoughts and sought advice.

    Now the OP does not know if it is the senders, or theirs. They can't spend it for six years, and now can't contact them to see if it is legitimate because they have cashed it.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    The money is in their bank, they can spend it tonight if they want. All they need is a reason to believe it was a legitimate payment, which they have.

    One simple phone call could of sorted it out at the start.
    Originally posted by uktyler
    I agree, but the OP believed it was a legitimate payment and banked the cheque, it was only some time later they had doubts/second thoughts. We can all be wise in hindsight.
  • Pewter
    Big companies make mistakes all the time. Normally I would return the money on the basis that it isn't yours. However, if as you say, the company caused you problems to a similar degree in the past, then perhaps you are just getting a lucky break to balance it out. Time will tell if you are entitled to it or not - if not, then you will have to pay it back. My guess is that if the error is going to come to light, it will be during their annual auditing. So if nothing happens for at least 12 months, then after that they'll probably not find the error after that. The thing is of course, what really matters is not the money, but do you feel comfortable with your decision?
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