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  #1  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:50 PM
Dahu Dahu is offline
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We gave someone cash by mistake - it there anything I can legally do?

Where I work we (not I!) had two envelopes in the safe, one containing 100 and one with 300. The wrong envelope was given to the wrong person - they were expecting the 100, we gave them the 300 by mistake. They are now refusing to give it back. Well, not outright refusing, but avoiding our calls and being uncooperative.

Legally, is there anything we could do? I mean, is this a crime?

(I'm in the UK).
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2009, 02:15 PM
robby robby is offline
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IANAL and I'm not familiar with the UK, but I'm fairly sure that the recipient of the funds cannot legally do this, any more than somebody can cash a check made out to them in error. (There was a case where a couple cashed a large check made out to them error, quit their jobs, and moved. They are in big trouble, last I heard, because any reasonable person would know that this was a mistake.)

If you make your recipient aware of the error, you are certainly within your rights to demand the money back. After all, you did not intentionally give them the 300 pounds.
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2009, 02:23 PM
fandango fandango is offline
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I took a business law class and I agree with robby--at least in the US. There is a term for the situation where someone receives an unearned gain, but I can't remember what the term is. You'd be in your rights to sue them and would probably win, if it came to that (again, this is true in the US, can't speak for Britain.)
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:28 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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Can you prove you gave the guy 300?

If he says he only got 100, can you prove otherwise?

If not, then yes it was illegal what he did, but there's nothing you can do about it.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2009, 02:45 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fandango View Post
There is a term for the situation where someone receives an unearned gain, but I can't remember what the term is.

Unjust Enrichment
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:42 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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We had a situation a few years back where our delivery guys mistakingly delivered a big screen TV to the wrong home (555 Generic Ct. vs. 555 Generic Ave.). The lady of the home just played dumb and let them set it up.
Later in the day when the mistake was realized and we went to retrive the set they homeowners refused to give it back.
I got local law enforcement to assist in the matter. The folks were still stubborn and wouldn't budge even with a cop at their door. He explained that while he personally could not physically make them give the TV back a judge surely would.
They finally grudgingly let the delivery guys remove it cursing them the whole time
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2009, 07:21 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Look at it from the flip side. Supposing someone gave you 100 then said they gave you 300 and they wanted 200 back.

For all anyone knows there the person distributing the envelopes planned this. He made out two evelopes with 100 in them each. Then pocketed the extra 200 and then claimed, falsely, that one person MUST have been given the wrong envelope.

What we used to do in accounting for deposits was have the cashier count the money and then he'd give it to another person and the other person would count it as well and verify. Then both of them together would put the money into a deposit bag that had a seal that, if broken, would be obvious. Then both people signed the amount on the bag.

Even then there's no proof.

I remember once at a currency exchange I cashed my paycheck and they shorted me $100.00. I was so mad, but the lady behind the window said, "Once you take the money from the window there's nothing she could do." She then said, at the end of the shift she'd count her money and if her drawer was $100 over she'd give it back. I was really mad, but figured, if I yelled at the clerk she'd simply say her drawer was even.

So I left my name and fortunately the currency exchange admitted they were in error and gave me the $100.00

The problem with dealing with cash is there's really no proof. Even in that accounting example above, there's always the possiblity of collusion between cashier and witness.
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  #8  
Old 10-23-2009, 02:55 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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What kind of business are you in where you pay people in cash, in plain envelopes, without getting a receipt?

Businesses who do such things deserve to get taken. They don't get taken in the US because 'businesses' who operate like that have enforcers named Vito who go around and bust the kneecaps if the recipient doesn't give the extra cash back.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2009, 03:03 AM
Dahu Dahu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
What kind of business are you in where you pay people in cash, in plain envelopes, without getting a receipt?
We're a hotel. We weren't paying anyone, we were looking after the money for a guest.

And please, I don't need a lecture on how bad a mistake this was.
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  #10  
Old 10-23-2009, 07:20 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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"Bank Error in Your Favor" has done a lot to screw up people's ideas about what's legal and what isn't.
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2009, 07:41 AM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
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I work at a bank as a teller, and once I cashed a check out for $95 instead of $65 (my typo) and we could prove that on the check it was validated for $95, my drawer was off $30 after we fixed the error in the system, but the customer flat out refused to give the money back.

In this case, it was only $30... so we let it go, but I still had that error on my variation reports until my annual review. I was pissed.
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2009, 08:38 AM
ruadh ruadh is offline
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Sounds like theft to me. That money is the property of the person who you were holding it for, and for another person to appropriate it without their consent is theft.

Of course you would have difficulty proving it.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2009, 09:07 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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The legal theory, which is part of the law of unjust enrichment, is called "money paid by mistake." http://www.lambchambers.co.uk/docs/cobu0602.pdf

http://www.publications.parliament.u...8/sempra-5.htm
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2009, 11:18 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfactor View Post
The legal theory, which is part of the law of unjust enrichment, is called "money paid by mistake."
Damn lawyers and their incomprehensible jargon!
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