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Overpayment From Old Employer - Solicitors Letter

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Overpayment From Old Employer - Solicitors Letter

5 replies 58.1K views
la.mccla.mcc Forumite
4 posts
Hi, I hope someone can give me some advice.
I used to work for a company, and towards the end of my employ there were some issues regarding my pay. Due to an on-going health problem, I was off work a lot and ended up in hospital having a major operation.
During this time, even though I had provided details of absences and doctors notes to HR/Payroll, they still managed to make several mistakes over the course of a few months, overpaying and underpaying me, and generally being a bit rubbish.
When I left, which was in May/June 2009, I understood that it was all sorted. Basically, they kept my final months pay, and a bonus that I was due to receive. The last email I have from them states that as they had not finalised the bonus amount, they would contact me if there was anything else due/any money left over for me.
So....that was 3 1/2 years ago, and I didn't hear a single word from them. I, and I think it's reasonable, assumed it was all fine and settled. I went travelling (but I had left them a contact address that has not changed for the last 10 years) and started university. I graduated in July, and am now studying for an MA.
Out of the blue, I received a letter from a solicitors firm called Clarke Willmott stating that I owed the company £269.28 in overpaid wages.
As a full time student I live on a little under £50 a week, so that amounts to more than a whole months worth of money for me. I have contacted the solicitors, and told them I need more information from the old employer, and they have have agreed to put it on hold until after the New Year.
Now, the question I have is, will I have to pay this money? I thought that I had paid back everything I was over paid, and have not had any contact from them since the above in June 2009. My circumstances now mean I basically have very low income from a part-time job, and was completely unaware that this money was outstanding. I read somewhere that if you reasonably thought the payment was correct, and that the company have not made reasonable attempts to get the money, and that your current circumstances mean you no longer have the money, you may have grounds for getting it written off. Is this correct?
I am contacting the company tomorrow to try and get the full details from them, but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Replies

  • miduckmiduck Forumite
    1.8K posts
    ✭✭✭
    If they can prove that you owe the money, you are liable to make payment. You should be able to pay in instalments.
  • The key word is prove, absolute and undeniable proof.
    Plus have they sent you any kind of invoice or demand ?
    Or just a nasty letter.
    Be happy...;)
  • miduckmiduck Forumite
    1.8K posts
    ✭✭✭
    spacey2012 wrote: »
    The key word is prove, absolute and undeniable proof.
    Plus have they sent you any kind of invoice or demand ?
    Or just a nasty letter.

    As this is a civil matter, the debt would only need to be proven on the balance of probabilities.
  • CAB_Malvern_Hills_representativeCAB_Malvern_Hills_representative Has MSE’s permission to post for company Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    153 posts
    la.mcc wrote: »
    Hi, I hope someone can give me some advice.
    I used to work for a company, and towards the end of my employ there were some issues regarding my pay. Due to an on-going health problem, I was off work a lot and ended up in hospital having a major operation.
    During this time, even though I had provided details of absences and doctors notes to HR/Payroll, they still managed to make several mistakes over the course of a few months, overpaying and underpaying me, and generally being a bit rubbish.
    When I left, which was in May/June 2009, I understood that it was all sorted. Basically, they kept my final months pay, and a bonus that I was due to receive. The last email I have from them states that as they had not finalised the bonus amount, they would contact me if there was anything else due/any money left over for me.
    So....that was 3 1/2 years ago, and I didn't hear a single word from them. I, and I think it's reasonable, assumed it was all fine and settled. I went travelling (but I had left them a contact address that has not changed for the last 10 years) and started university. I graduated in July, and am now studying for an MA.
    Out of the blue, I received a letter from a solicitors firm called Clarke Willmott stating that I owed the company £269.28 in overpaid wages.
    As a full time student I live on a little under £50 a week, so that amounts to more than a whole months worth of money for me. I have contacted the solicitors, and told them I need more information from the old employer, and they have have agreed to put it on hold until after the New Year.
    Now, the question I have is, will I have to pay this money? I thought that I had paid back everything I was over paid, and have not had any contact from them since the above in June 2009. My circumstances now mean I basically have very low income from a part-time job, and was completely unaware that this money was outstanding. I read somewhere that if you reasonably thought the payment was correct, and that the company have not made reasonable attempts to get the money, and that your current circumstances mean you no longer have the money, you may have grounds for getting it written off. Is this correct?
    I am contacting the company tomorrow to try and get the full details from them, but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Hi

    The law about overpayments of wages means that in general most overpayments will be recoverable from an individual apart from in a minority of cases, where:-
    • The employer gave the impression that the payment was correct; and
    • the employee could not have reasonably realised that there had been an overpayment; and
    • the employee has 'changed her/his position' as a result of receiving the money.
    Where the circumstances above apply, an employee could argue that because they have changed their position, they should not be required to repay the overpayment. This is actually a complex argument to make and you would perhaps need to get help from your local CAB if you were to try and go down this route. Obviously now that you have left they cannot make a deduction from your wages. At the very least if you do end up having to pay it back you could negotiate an affordable payment plan over a period of time. They might also be able to help you to get some or all of it written off given the length of time that has passed since you left them.
    Official CAB Representative
    I am an official representative of CAB. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to questions on the CAB Board. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. If you believe I’ve broken any rules please report my post to [email protected] as usual"
  • Thank you so much, I have spoken to the solicitors and the case is on hold til after the new year. I will request all the records from the company and make an appointment with my local CAB. Thanks again.
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