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    Former MSE Lee
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I return the overpayment?
    • #1
    • 15th Oct 10, 1:14 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I return the overpayment? 15th Oct 10 at 1:14 PM
    Please give this MoneySaver the benefit of your advice...

    Should I return the overpayment?

    After returning from holiday, I went back to Tesco's to exchange left-over Euros and redeem the remainder of the money on our cash passport (prepaid card). Over a week later, I was contacted by the employee who served me, to say he had accidentally done the cash passport redemption twice, overpaying me by 65. I didn't notice this at the time as we were unsure how much we had left on it. The employee accepted liability and said I was under no obligation to repay the difference, but if I didn't he would be in trouble with his boss.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 19-10-2010 at 8:44 PM.
Page 1
    • billbennett
    • By billbennett 19th Oct 10, 10:18 PM
    • 2,270 Posts
    • 1,623 Thanks
    • #2
    • 19th Oct 10, 10:18 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Oct 10, 10:18 PM
    I'd explain to him that while I sympathised, I wasn't aware of the error and would like to discuss it with his boss.

    If it was over a week later, three things crop up in my mind:

    1) How did he get my details?
    2) Why did he notice over a week later? Why was he scrutinising all the prepaid card records for errors? Surely the person checking for errors would have notified his boss?
    3) Why wasn't he quizzed about it when they counted the till at the end of the day and found it to be down by 65?

    Ultimately, I'd be smelling a rat - as he was acting as a representative of the company, I'd want the company to ask for it back, not just him.
    In "Monopoly", what makes the "Super Tax" so super?
    • muffin_man
    • By muffin_man 19th Oct 10, 11:33 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 316 Thanks
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 10, 11:33 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 10, 11:33 PM
    I imagine his boss does know about it, otherwise why would the employee be worrying about getting into trouble for it. I would imagine it is his boss that has told him to try to get the money back. As for it being over a week later, these sort of things may only crop up in weekly reports.

    If you didn't have the 65 to start with, then it is no real loss to you to give it back (I agree, subject to some sort of ratification from management). Whereas, not giving it back is likely to cost the employee at least 65, which he probably hasn't got to spare.

    When it comes to greed over human decency, there really shouldn't be any question.
    Last edited by muffin_man; 19-10-2010 at 11:35 PM.
  • ssimon
    • #4
    • 19th Oct 10, 11:44 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Oct 10, 11:44 PM
    But if he got underpaid 65, and the employee noticed a week later would the employee have phoned him to offer him the 65 he had underpaid him? Probably not so I know what i'd have done!
  • Romola
    • #5
    • 20th Oct 10, 12:07 AM
    • #5
    • 20th Oct 10, 12:07 AM
    If I had no way of checking whether or not there actually had been an overpayment, I wouldn't even consider paying it back. However, if I'd checked and was sure that there had been an overpayment, I would repay it, no doubt about it, it's pretty horrible not to, in my opinion. The time elapsed and whether or not the employee got in trouble is irrelevant.

    I assume that your phone number was taken at the time of the transaction? If I was his boss, he would be in trouble anyway, no matter whether he had made the mistake with someone with honour or without.
    • pennypinchUK
    • By pennypinchUK 20th Oct 10, 12:12 AM
    • 382 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    • #6
    • 20th Oct 10, 12:12 AM
    • #6
    • 20th Oct 10, 12:12 AM
    First of all, I smell a rat here, as I would be surprised if a company like Tesco would require an employee to phone a customer with such a request. I'd have anticipated at least his/her supervisor to call. But assuming it's true, shame on Tesco for 1) putting an employee on the spot in such a way, and 2) sanctioning the use of emotional blackmail.

    Nevertheless, we know that many people follow a general rule of thumb that if they're undercharged/over-reimbursed by a big company it's fair game, but if it's done by a small company run by the owner they'd do the right thing and repay the money or let the shop know they'd made an error.

    Here, it's pretty easy to see whether a mistake has been made - the store can provide a record of the transaction. So if you keep the money you've obtained it by false means, and you should return it.

    I can already anticipate lots of people will say "It was their mistake, and it's my gain". However, if it was the other way round and they'd not received enough money back I'm sure they'd be the first to kick and scream. Lots of arguments about double-standards to follow on this thread....
  • captain Lockheed
    • #7
    • 20th Oct 10, 1:46 AM
    • #7
    • 20th Oct 10, 1:46 AM
    I can't believe there's any question here!
    Does anyone out there subscribe to the simple concept of "honesty first" anymore?
    It's like when you are in a shop and the shopkeeper gives you too much change. You notice the overpayment and give it back. It's the right thing to do.
    Unless it was a bank that overpaid you, in which case, the rules are clearly different... Then you'd want to tell em to knock it off the 3000 or so quid that every man woman and child living in this country gave 'em recently.
  • Joseph Farthing
    • #8
    • 20th Oct 10, 3:07 AM
    • #8
    • 20th Oct 10, 3:07 AM
    I used to work for Tesco (retail and internal security) and this seems way out. Till reports are checked daily and staff error is never shifted on to the customer.

    Either this is a manager going off script quite badly and asking an assistant to make the call, or the assistant is taking matters into their own hands.

    I recommend ignoring this one!
  • rockitup
    • #9
    • 20th Oct 10, 6:57 AM
    • #9
    • 20th Oct 10, 6:57 AM
    Doing the decent thing also comes into my mind...

    Surely each and everyone of us makes mistakes and if I was in the position of having gained 65 quid whether it be from a company or a poorly paid employee then I would give it back.
  • nitrofunction
    You HAVE to do the decent thing!
    I had something similar happen MANY moons ago!

    I was getting a Road Tax licence for my car, but only could afford 6 months. However, the clerk at the Post Office gave me a 12 month disc in error; and I didn't notice until I got home.

    Well, the Post Office did try to ring me about it, but it was when I at work and so messages were left on my answering machine.

    As times was hard and money was short for me then, I ignored them and hoped they would go away!

    Anyway, a few evenings later, a knock on my door, and the poor sheepish-looking clerk was there with (I assumed) her parents!

    She offered me the 6 month disc, which we then swapped . . .

    Did I feel better for this?

    • Enterprise 1701C
    • By Enterprise 1701C 20th Oct 10, 7:43 AM
    • 20,360 Posts
    • 215,237 Thanks
    Enterprise 1701C
    If you were overpaid by 65, surely you would notice. I would definitely repay if I realised I had been overpaid, 65 is a lot to someone working in these booths and there is a high risk they would have to repay it themselves.
    What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare
    • TighterThanTwoCoatsOfPain
    • By TighterThanTwoCoatsOfPain 20th Oct 10, 7:52 AM
    • 843 Posts
    • 440 Thanks
    As if you didnt know..... When you go shopping do you empty out your purse/wallet and trust they will give you the change correctly?? If you are able to confirm the overpayment is legit then next time you're their speak to the manager (not the employee) to sort out. If you genuinely cant prove the overpayment then i wouldnt pay on their say so..
  • housesitter
    I dont see Tesco or anyone else for that matter running after you if they over charge you, so no.

    The basic maths skills of a lot of people serving behind tills are quite shocking.
    For companies putting people in a position of handling money they should be investing in lessons if they find their staff are unable to do simple arithmetic.

    For an example.
    If an item is 9.34 and I hand over 10, it's rung through the till but then I find 50p in my pocket. Far too many times this utterly confuses the person serving since then can no longer rely on the machine to calculate for them.

    Tesco have no morals anyway.
    • MadMom
    • By MadMom 20th Oct 10, 9:14 AM
    • 104 Posts
    • 1,321 Thanks
    wow - I'm not even sure why this would be a 'moral dilemma'! If you have received money that you are not entitled to then there is no dilemma. Its not yours. Give it back.

    On the issue of the phone call & delay in doing so etc (which is irrelevant to the 'moral' issue) - having spent the largest portion of my life as a bank manager it is not unusual for a cashier difference to take a few days to resolve. It is not always clear how / why a till difference arose (and the more inexperienced the cashier, the more complex a 'simple' error can appear). I would have always got my cashier to call the customer (once the source of the error had been verified) as it is teaching that cashier to accept responsibility (and hopefully prevent similar errors in future). Of course the customers' own integrity dictates whether they return the cash or deny it was them. And there is nothing the organisation can do to force the issue.
  • corgilover
    Of course you should give it back. This is not your money. Simple.
    • Bigsmak
    • By Bigsmak 20th Oct 10, 9:35 AM
    • 183 Posts
    • 233 Thanks
    I am not sure if Tesco's are one of the stores that do this but a lot of places have signs up saying..

    "Please check your change before you leave the till as mistakes cannot be rectified later"

    Surely that counts both ways and not just when you have been overpaid?


    However, if I had been overpaid it and it had proved to be so, I would return it but make a hint that I was put out by travel and time and try to blag some form of compensation.
    No don't
    no dont give it back let him learn a lesson the company should pay and sort out their process and systems as clearly its flawed if it allows this to happen and those who say give it back its not yours well then you must work for a bank spelt i.d.i.o.t.s
  • zsarina
    What does Tesco say about this blunder, and what will be on the receipt when the money goes back ??
    • terryya
    • By terryya 20th Oct 10, 9:46 AM
    • 599 Posts
    • 279 Thanks
    I am not sure if Tesco's are one of the stores that do this but a lot of places have signs up saying..

    "Please check your change before you leave the till as mistakes cannot be rectified later"

    Surely that counts both ways and not just when you have been overpaid?
    Originally posted by Bigsmak
    I think you're getting Tesco mixed up with your corner shop - no big supermarkets have these type of signs.

    This is one of the easiest 'dilemmas' ever - of course you give it back. If it'd been the other way round and the money hadn't credited onto your card you'd have been straight back and no doubt Tesco would have sorted it out.
    • missrlr
    • By missrlr 20th Oct 10, 9:48 AM
    • 2,189 Posts
    • 12,751 Thanks
    Can you verify a mistake has been made? If yes then toddle up with the money. If not then the onus is on them to prove a mistake was made. I'd also be asking for verification from a more authoriatative source than the clerk (e.g. supervisor)
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