What Happens If I Am Overpaid?
What Happens if Money is Transferred to My Bank Account By Accident?
What Happens if I Receive Money in Error?
All these questions, and more people ask themselves on a regular basis, and why….because they occur. They happen.
Employers overpay employees, or one day money appears in our bank accounts out of the blue.
So what happens when this happens, what do you do, and what are your rights and responsibilities???
Your Employer Overpays You
One of the documents and pieces of paper be it online or as a hardcopy we check each month is our wage statements.
If our pay is incorrect, we want to know about it right away.
For many of us there are no errors with our pay, except the occasional tax issue with HMRC. Things like changing jobs and your P45 not catching up with things as it should, and next thing you know, your in the higher/emergency tax code and your wages are light.
However, if an employer overpaid you would you notice…..probably yes, but what do you do?
Do you bring this to their attention, or simply wait for them to catch it, or maybe not catch it.
Odds are eventually the error of being overpaid will be caught, and hopefully, you have not spent the money.
If you are still working for the company, then you and they can work out an arrangement to give the money back; possibly in one lump sum if you still have the money. If not, then in instalments.
However, if you leave a company and are overpaid, what then?
Your ex-employer can request you repay the money, and they even have certain rights to demand this, however, you have rights as well.
A Legal Adviser at DAS Law, Samantha Jenkins says, “Unfortunately, if you are mistakenly overpaid by your employer you can be required to pay the money back.”
“This is true even in cases whereby the employer realises their mistake sometime after the overpayment has been made, or where you have since left their employment.”
“Under Section 14 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, where the employee remains within employment, the employer is entitled to make a deduction from the employee’s ongoing wages to recover the overpaid sum.”
“In the event the employee has left employment, and therefore no deduction from ongoing wages can be made, the employer may contact their former employee and request the repayment.”
An employer should advise the employee of the sum which has been overpaid and seek to agree a repayment plan over a reasonable period of time.”
“If you refuse, or fail, to repay the overpaid wages, you may find that your employer takes you to court. They will have six years from the date of the overpayment in which to do so.”
“If an employer has overpaid you in error over an extended period of time, it can become tricky for them to recover the wages and you may have a defence if you have received the money believing it to be the correct sum owed and have spent it innocently as a result.”
“If you believe that you have such a defence it is advisable that you seek legal advice on your particular case.”
What would you do if you woke up one fine day, checked your bank account, and found extra money in it, hundreds or maybe thousands of Pounds more than you thought you had.
Jump for joy, go on a spending spree, or contact the bank to inquire what happened.
There are those that do not regularly check their statements, they just guess and hope with eyes closed with each purchase that the transaction is approved.
So if money is inadvertently placed in your bank account, can you keep it?
Our survey said….no!
Legally you cannot keep the money.
If you know the money is not yours and has been placed in your account, and you do nothing to rectify the issue, such as contacting your bank, you could be guilty of “wrongful credit” under the Theft Act 1968.
You would think this Act would have been updated over the years, 1968?
You need to contact the bank immediately and make them aware of the error, the longer you do not do this, the more it looks bad for you, plus it increases your temptation to spend the money.
So while windfalls occur, they do not occur where you can be overpaid or have money placed in error in your bank account, and you can keep the money.