Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:01 PM
whitetho's Avatar
whitetho is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: USA, North Carolina, Cary
Posts: 2,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
One time a friend of mine asked me to deposit into an account I had at a US bank what appeared to be a certified check for $8000. He told that he was suspicious of the check (he never explained why). So I mailed it off to the bank along with a letter describing what my friend had said and asked to be informed when and if the check cleared. Of course I didn't withdraw anything from the account. A month later, the check was returned unpaid and I gave it back to my friend. To my utter astonishment, I got a month's interest on that $8000, which came to a few dollars in those days. My friend explained that for that month, the bank was richer by that money and was able to base a loan on it so it was entirely reasonable that they paid interest. I did keep that money.
I had the reverse happen to me, although it was a money market account. I had an extra $200,000 or so credited to me. When I notified them, they quickly removed the extra money. Then then took out an extra $15 or so of "unearned interest". Then they took out the unearned interest a second time, so I was out $15. When I complained about this, they added back $15, but put it in a second account by itself. After another year or so they declared the $15 account dormant and I was out $15 again.
  #52  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:29 PM
MortSahlFan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: US
Posts: 440
When I first read about this story, I thought "What if this happened to me?".. Say I withdrew modest amounts for things like food and other necessities, while the bigger purchases (bills, etc) were withdrawn automatically... I basically imagine, edit, and whatever it takes to at least give me a few moments of imagination.
  #53  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:44 PM
Ann Hedonia's Avatar
Ann Hedonia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Jackson View Post

Banks are insured against theft, but not mistakes. .
Are you sure? Insurance policies that cover mistakes are extremely common in the professional world- doctors have malpractice insurance, architects and engineers have E&O (errors and omissions ) insurance and construction contractors are certainly insured for incidents resulting from the mistakes of their workers.

I find it hard to believe that insurers wouldn’t write those policies and/or that banks wouldn’t want them.

I do have a good story about a bank making good on a mistake. This was in the old days (late 1970’s early 1980’s), before the days of electronic transmissions, scanners or large scale copiers.

My friend and his friends were in the business of providing design and technical services to the some of the many discos and nightclubs in New York City. They were introduced to some allegedly wealthy foreigners that allegedly wanted to open a nightclub somewhere. My friend and his friends took them on a champagne and cocaine fueled tour of the city’s nightlife, all while discussing what design features of the the various clubs they should emulate or avoid. My friend and his friends pretty much figured that the allegedly wealthy guys were full of it, but they were having a good time playing high powered designers while getting thoroughly blitzed and played along.

And the end of the evening, the allegedly wealthy guys gave my friend and his friends a 10K check apiece as a deposit on ........something. My friend was pretty sure the check was bogus but he took it to the bank and deposited it anyway. His friends did the same and their checks bounced. But my friend got a call from the bank telling him that his check had been lost. Physically lost. They had the receipt for the check but no one could find the document. Remember, this was in the pre-electronic days.

My friend told them he had no way to contact the issuer of the check. The bank told him that since it was obviously their mistake, they would credit his account for the 10K. So he got a little windfall.
  #54  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:23 AM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,267
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschrodinger View Post
Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake:

"A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, with intent to deprive the owner thereof, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to have it."

18 Pa.C.S.A. section 3924
Curious, what constitutes "reasonable meaures?" Is it enough for me to passively leave the errant $100K in my bank account and wait for the bank to notice? Or am I obligated by this law to actively contact the bank and inform them that the deposit may be an error?
  #55  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:00 AM
CarnalK's Avatar
CarnalK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 18,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
Are you sure? Insurance policies that cover mistakes are extremely common in the professional world- doctors have malpractice insurance, architects and engineers have E&O (errors and omissions ) insurance and construction contractors are certainly insured for incidents resulting from the mistakes of their workers.

I find it hard to believe that insurers wouldn’t write those policies and/or that banks wouldn’t want them.
I could see banks not wanting them. Errors are probably are evenly divided between gains and losses. There is also the bank's ability to simply correct most errors.
  #56  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:05 AM
CarnalK's Avatar
CarnalK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 18,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Curious, what constitutes "reasonable meaures?" Is it enough for me to passively leave the errant $100K in my bank account and wait for the bank to notice? Or am I obligated by this law to actively contact the bank and inform them that the deposit may be an error?
How could doing nothing at all be considered "reasonable measures"? ISTM, doing nothing is exactly what it's a law against.
  #57  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:09 AM
muldoonthief's Avatar
muldoonthief is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 11,024
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
How could doing nothing at all be considered "reasonable measures"? ISTM, doing nothing is exactly what it's a law against.
You're both skipping the "with intent to deprive the owner thereof" part of the law. If you simply leave the money untouched in your account, how can it be proven that you intended to deprive the owner of it? Though I'd say the instant you transferred it out, even into another account in the same bank, you're probably in violation of that law.
  #58  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:57 AM
JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Displaced
Posts: 15,953

Couple spends $100,000 after bank error


For as long as you have it, the other person does not have it. I suppose it would be up to the court to figure how feckless one can be before a reasonable person will conclude you’re deliberately choosing to do nothing.

In a case like this the Reasonable Person test may be the expectation you’ll at least ask “is this right?” upon noticing a $100K mistake.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 09-12-2019 at 10:02 AM.
  #59  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:07 AM
muldoonthief's Avatar
muldoonthief is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 11,024
But if I leave the property where the other party inadvertently left it, and they have full access to that location to remove it on their own, I think it would be impossible to prove "intent to deprive the owner thereof".

Say someone parks their car on my lawn and disappears for a week. I do nothing. How can they prove I intended to deprive them of it? They can walk up and drive it away any time they please, just like the bank could withdraw the money from where they put it any time they please.

Last edited by muldoonthief; 09-12-2019 at 10:08 AM.
  #60  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:41 AM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 11,005
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
How could doing nothing at all be considered "reasonable measures"? ISTM, doing nothing is exactly what it's a law against.
There is no requirement that you check your account every day or couple of days; the bank only provides statements once a month.
There is no guarantee that you'll check the statement the day it hits your mailbox. You could be away or just not get the mail for a few days.
There is no requirement that one is observant about checking their balance. I typically have enough to pay my bills; if I sign in on the app to do bill pay I don't even see balances. if I sign in on the website, balances come up on the homepage but I also know that bill pay is on the top of the page & could click directly on that. I use a small FI; while the app & website are available at anytime, customer service only has daytime hours. If I notice a problem at night, I can't call anyone then & need to remember to call the next day.
  #61  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:46 AM
CarnalK's Avatar
CarnalK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 18,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman View Post
There is no requirement that you check your account every day or couple of days; the bank only provides statements once a month.
There is no guarantee that you'll check the statement the day it hits your mailbox. You could be away or just not get the mail for a few days.
There is no requirement that one is observant about checking their balance. I typically have enough to pay my bills; if I sign in on the app to do bill pay I don't even see balances. if I sign in on the website, balances come up on the homepage but I also know that bill pay is on the top of the page & could click directly on that. I use a small FI; while the app & website are available at anytime, customer service only has daytime hours. If I notice a problem at night, I can't call anyone then & need to remember to call the next day.
So what? If you don't notice it, you don't notice it. If you make attempts to contact the people who made a mistake, you're making a reasonable effort. That doesn't make purposely keeping it and hoping no one notices all okey dokey.

Last edited by CarnalK; 09-12-2019 at 10:46 AM.
  #62  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:29 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschrodinger View Post
The tort I'm primarily thinking of is conversion. Moving money to an interest bearing account with the intention of using it to generate interest, and the intention of keeping the interest, is likely conversion. There may be other civil claims that also apply.
On an unrelated issue, I was just looking up conversion last month, and couldn't find anything in my state criminal law. I asked my lawyer, who practiced in my state, and has since moved to another state (prosecutor), and she'd never heard of it. Evidently conversion is not a crime in vic.aus or nsw.aus. I'd only come across the description in old general accounting texts, not local criminal law.

Not making a point, just a curious observation.
  #63  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:30 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
The manager points haughtily at a sign saying "All Errors Must Be Reported to the Cashier At the Time of Sale", and says, "sorry, there's nothing to be done."

"OK", says the customer. "I just thought I would mention that the cashier gave me three dollars too much."

Regards,
Shodan
Electricity companies in vic.aus. You are protected by a law that says they can't come after you more than two years later, for mistakes they made in billing. As it turns out, if they overcharge you, and argue about it for two years, and then admit their mistake...... it's too late. They aren't going to pay you back, because it's more than two years.
  #64  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:46 PM
Ynnad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: The City Different
Posts: 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
On an unrelated issue, I was just looking up conversion last month, and couldn't find anything in my state criminal law. I asked my lawyer, who practiced in my state, and has since moved to another state (prosecutor), and she'd never heard of it. Evidently conversion is not a crime in vic.aus or nsw.aus. I'd only come across the description in old general accounting texts, not local criminal law.

Not making a point, just a curious observation.
Generally, in common law jurisdictions, conversion is a civil tort and not a criminal offense. However the common law world is rather large. I wouldn't be surprised if some jurisdiction somewhere had a criminal offense called conversion.
  #65  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:08 PM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
On an unrelated issue, I was just looking up conversion last month, and couldn't find anything in my state criminal law. I asked my lawyer, who practiced in my state, and has since moved to another state (prosecutor), and she'd never heard of it. Evidently conversion is not a crime in vic.aus or nsw.aus. I'd only come across the description in old general accounting texts, not local criminal law.

Not making a point, just a curious observation.
In my jurisdiction, it may only be codified in connection with specific property. Unlawful use of a motor vehicle, for example, is not theft because it doesn't require proving an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Some of the identity theft statutes are also a species of criminal conversion. But I don't think we have a general criminal conversion statute.
  #66  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:18 PM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
But if I leave the property where the other party inadvertently left it, and they have full access to that location to remove it on their own, I think it would be impossible to prove "intent to deprive the owner thereof".

Say someone parks their car on my lawn and disappears for a week. I do nothing. How can they prove I intended to deprive them of it? They can walk up and drive it away any time they please, just like the bank could withdraw the money from where they put it any time they please.
Remember though, that the bank is not the owner of the money. So leaving money in your account and saying nothing to anyone does not leave it in a place where the owner has free access to it.

As far as other kinds of property, what is reasonable would depend on the circumstances. If you had friends over, and you later notice a 1 carat diamond ring laying on your porch, partly under a large planter, doing nothing to notify the owner of the Lost property and just waiting for someone to come and get it seems pretty unreasonable to me. But your car example seems fairly reasonable as far as it goes.
  #67  
Old 09-13-2019, 04:57 PM
Major Matt Mason is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Somewhere west of Bugtown
Posts: 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
In a broader legal sense, though, how far does this "Finder does not mean keeper" principle apply?

If I order food at Burger King, and the absentminded staff give me two Whoppers instead of just one, am I committing a crime if I eat the extra Whopper? Yes, it's only a four-dollar mistake as opposed to a $100,000 error, but the principle is the same.
I should think that the extra Whopper is punishment enough.

-MMM-
  #68  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:59 PM
Sunspace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Near the GT eeehhhh...
Posts: 27,751
Something like this happened to me years ago. This was in the days when I did my bill payments at an ATM instead of online.

Payday at my old job rolled around. My pay was deposited by direct deposit. After work I went to the ATM on the corner and paid my bills, then looked at the account balance. Instead of the couple of hundred dollars I was expecting, there were over 1400 dollars in the account!

The next day I went to HR and asked what was going on. Turns out they had double-paid a whole bunch of people. They decided that the easiest thing to do was just leave the extra payments there, and announce that the affected people had gotten their next pay two weeks early.

I guess that counts as 'reasonable effort' to address the situation...
__________________
Rigardu, kaj vi ekvidos.
Look, and you will begin to see.
  #69  
Old 09-14-2019, 02:30 PM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 898
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Curious, what constitutes "reasonable meaures?" Is it enough for me to passively leave the errant $100K in my bank account and wait for the bank to notice? Or am I obligated by this law to actively contact the bank and inform them that the deposit may be an error?
This happened to a friend of mine in the late 90s. One day he noticed his brokerage account had an extra $300k in it. He knew enough not to touch the money, but decided it was too much trouble to try and contact the brokerage. This was in the early days of discount internet brokerage firms, and customer service was not one of their strengths. We had fun checking every few days to see if the money was still there, and after a few weeks it vanished. I think he got a letter from them at some point, or perhaps it was just a statement, marking the deposit as erroneous, and the withdrawal as a correction. There were never any repercussions.
  #70  
Old 09-14-2019, 05:44 PM
TheMightyAtlas is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 1,023
My sister worked for an administratively challenged private school in the mid 1990s. After she quit, she still continued to get direct deposits every week. They said they couldn’t reverse the transactions and wanted her to write them a check for the GROSS amount, saying that they had paid the taxes and insurance deductions already and couldn’t recover them.

She told them to FOAD and wrote them checks for the amounts actually deposited. They ended up actually suing her for the difference (~$1000). She ended up paying a lawyer an couple hundred bucks who convinced them that to drop it.

Then they issued her W-2s showing the returned payments as income. She filed with the correct amounts but had to deal with the IRS, employing a CPA/EA which cost another couple hundred.
  #71  
Old 09-18-2019, 10:09 AM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,547
As for "reasonable measures" I don't think it is up to me to fix someone else's screwup especially if I leave it in my account to let them deal with it.
__________________
When I was a boy, a mere lad, A FAERIE APPEARED UNTO ME AND TOLD ME I WOULD BE BOTH POPE AND KING! But … I am a bastard. And a pretender.

-Richard Hariss
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:56 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017