I gave back $500 on Friday

At work, we get paid for unused flex time, sort of like vacation time. We get eight days a year, and if you don’t use it, you get paid for it, up to $1000.

Normally, because I’d rather have the money and because I’ve been at work long enough to get 20 days of vacation a year, I take a check for my unused flex time.

This year, with the breast cancer, I used my flex time for recovery from my lumpectomy.

I was checking my bank account on Friday and noticed a deposit from work for about $520. I called payroll, and I was told that was my unused flex time, four day’s worth.

I checked with my boss, and sure enough, she had the same number I did…that I’d used up all my flex time. She gave me a copy of the vacation request form, and there it is, all seven days (I’d used day 8 earlier in the year for my biopsy.)

So I go over to payroll, and they pulled out the vacation request form that they had, and sure enough, all seven days on one form.

How they figured 8-8=4, I don’t know. Payroll said they’d look into it and that $500 will be coming back out of my bank account.

Could I use it? Hell, yes. Things are very tight right now because our rental property has been vacant for two months, and there’s been no serious nibbles for this month either.

But it wasn’t my money. Somebody screwed up, and I’m sure sooner or later they’d figure it out and yank the money back out.

My husband just shook his head when I told him. He knows I’m honest to a fault, and he expected nothing less, and really, we’re no worse off than we were before.

So, I thank my parents for raising me with morals and ethics. I won’t say it didn’t cross my mind to keep my mouth shut, but I will say the thought was a very fast zip across my brain.

Maybe it was a test. Maybe I got a karma point in the credit column. Maybe it’s what is supposed to happen when you find something that isn’t yours. In any event, I slept very well over the weekend.

Once there actually was a bank error in my favor; I was depositing part of a check ($700) and cashing the rest ($300) and the teller both credited my account for $700 and gave me $700 cash. It took me quite awhile to believe it had happened, i even asked the security guard what 35 * 20 was just to check i wasn’t going insane. When i was finally convinced that I was magically $400 richer than i should be I went back to the teller and asked her to recount it.

I hope no one noticed her mistake; I imagine banks fire people for that sort of error and it was Christmas time (hence the $1,000 check and the stressed, overworked bank teller).

Good for you! I would have too!

Last March I received a check for $663.05 from an insurance company I had done business with about 5 years ago. They said it was a refund for an overpayment. At the time I was worrying how I was going to pay the money I owed the IRS for taxes, I had part but not all. This was just enough so I could pay the whole thing. I deposited the check and sent in my taxes. This September, just 2 days after going out on strike, I received a letter from the same insurance company. Whoops, we made a mistake, send back the $663.05 immediately or we are going to sue you. I sent them a check for $663.00. I haven’t heard anything about the 5 cents yet. Thankfully we just voted to end our 57 day strike and I’m going back to work tomorrow. Financially, it’s just in time.

I’ve gotten refunds over the years, $20 here, $118 there, from various companies I’ve done business with. I never questioned it, because I figured they knew more than I did.

But this time, I knew I wasn’t getting a flex time check, which is why when that money showed up in my account I knew it must have been a mistake. I’m thinking they must have confused my flex time with another employee’s. How else do you explain that they had paperwork where I requested seven days off of flex time at once? We only get eight days, that right there should have been proof enough that I wasn’t going to get paid for four days.

Ah well. The money will sit quietly in my account until they take it out again.

I think you were right in doing it.
And as you mention, karma can be a bitch, so you did a good thing and hopefully good things will come your way in unexpected ways. Usually does for me.

It does seem like an unlikely mistake on their part. I wonder if someone was trying to do you a favor, with the company’s money.

When I quit my last job, the company owed me money for a rebate. (Processing these rebates had been part of my job.) The check was 50% more than it should have been, and I sent it back. I’ll admit that part of the reason I did this was to say “Hey! The person who’s doing my job fucked up!” :smiley:

You can be proud of yourself, which hopefully is more reward than the money.

When I was a student, I got paid twice for temporary work. I gave it back and still feel good 35 years later. :slight_smile:

In the immortal words of Dr. Perry Cox, it’s a vee-herrrrr-herrrry large company. I mean, I know a lot of the people at my location, but headquarters is up north. I doubt they’d know me to trip over me in the street.

But you’re right…it is a very odd mistake to make.

Wow you people are so honest and I know it must have been hard to give back money. The hardest part is that if you did nothing, you have the money but you have to put in so much effort to give it back. From reading these accounts, I think I’d now be more likely to follow your footsteps where before I probably would’ve leaned more to the “bad” side though I’d struggle a lot trying to decide what to do.

It’s not really an effort to give it back.

  1. Check with boss

  2. Make copy of her paperwork, which matches mine

  3. Walk over to the next door building

  4. Payroll directs me to her assistant, who keeps copies of all time-off requests

  5. Assistant pulls it out of a binder. Funny enough, it matches both my paperwork and my boss’s. :dubious:

  6. Walk back to payroll, give her the paperwork, she says she’ll look into it.

  7. Record the amount in my checkbook and immediately subtract it.

  8. Wait for the reverse direct deposit to happen.

As far as ethically keeping it, I think I’d be stressing more about spending it and then payroll figuring out the error and taking it out, leaving me in the hole. As I mentioned above, I’m no worse off than I was last week. I didn’t have an extra $500 then, and I still don’t.

Nah- it happens frequently, and as long as it’s not deliberate fraud, it’s not a firing mistake. A mistake like that (or a deposit with an extra digit or two) is caught at the end of business the same day, when the teller balances out her “drawer.”

OK, now this is freaky.
About an hour after I posted this, I had to go cash a check (they are open on Sundays).
They handed me $400 more than the check was worth!
I could have easily taken the money and walked away and most likely they would only have noticed it at the end of the day, but not known how or where or why it happened.
It was a small business and the guy behind the counter was distracted.
I handed him the $400 back and said, “You miscounted.”
The guy was in shock…he apologized and then thanked me about 10 times. I could see he was really upset and this would have totally screwed his day up if I hadn’t been honest about it.

Only as I was walking out did I recalled this thread and my post - and thought, “Gee…maybe I have some good karma coming too!”

Holy crap talk about coincidences. Your (DMark) case didn’t take 8 steps like ivylass’ though(Ivylass listing it as *8 *steps made the response seem sarcastic though I did not think it was from context lol). For DMark, you see the person directly and you know it’d help him out a lot not that I’m undermining your morality. Actually hypothetically, imagine you gave back the $400 and the guy gets all pissy at you rather than show gratitude. I’d feel pretty bad even though I did the right thing but not to say I’d regret it though.

I am sitting on about $18k from a customer (large, multinational that does all its accounts payable out of Belize or somewhere thereabouts) that keeps depositing EFTs into my bank account, though I haven’t done any business with them since April. I keep emailing and calling them, asking who to send the refund check to, but nobody calls me back. At least I’ll get to keep the interest.

Good on you, Ivylass.

Now then, THIS weirds me out:

Deducting it from your next pay? Sure, I can see that.

Deducting it from multiple pays in instalments? Yep (my employer does this with overpayments. Quite good of them).

But your employer getting their hands into your bank account for anything other than a deposit? That just seems weird and wrong to me. I’m pretty sure no employer in my jurisdiction would even be legally able to do that. the bank would tell them to sod right off.
Unless you’ve signed off on some piece of paper or something, of course, but your post suggests your employer (who is really a third party in the relationship between you and your bank) is going to just go right ahead and help themselves to your account.

No, it’s okay. It’s part of the agreement we sign when we get direct deposit. I’ve worked here 10 years, and only had stuff go in. I’m not sure how it’s worked out with the bank, maybe something like “We put in $x from Company A, we as Company A are allowed to take $x back out again in case of error.”

Believe me, they take one penny more, I’m hollering. But they won’t.

And Ted_Y, I certainly didn’t mean for my response to come across as sarcastic. I apologize.

Just heard back from payroll…they charged me four vacation days in error, instead of four flex days. (Again, since it was all on the same form I’m mystified at the error) so they’ll do a reversal and we’ll be square again.

Good on you!
May your integrity and honor not be squashed by the cold cruel business world tactics.

Congrats, you actually came out ahead.
Years from now, knowing you did that will be worth more to you than the money.