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ex employer demands salary from 2 years ago

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Hi Guys,


I had a 1 year contract with a NHS Primary Care Trust in '07 where they paid me one extra months salary by mistake. Then out of the blue they are now demanding it back or I will be taken to court over it, the amount is £1300.

I havent worked since, and in fact was on the dole and getting benifits when that extra months salary went into my bank account unoticed. (it was a stressfull time, my father was dying of cancer - finances was not top of my agenda).

I've tried to follow some overpayment posts, but I am getting a little confused, with the "Mistake by Fact" law. Do I fit the criteria? do i have to pay it back? and is it worth going to court, actually i really have no choice as I dont have two beans to rub together at the moment.


I need some answers quick too, as they are threatening leagal action by the end of this month.




Any help, really, REALLY appreceated!



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Make a precise expense and income sheet, send it to them with a polite letter pointing out that even if they take you to court and obtain a CCJ, a judge won't give them more than you can realistically afford, which could be as little as £1 a month. Suggest that since it was their mistake and under the circumstances, they could consider writing off the sum, but if not, then the best you can offer them is £x per month (if you can afford anything that is) and if they're not happy about that, then they'll have to go to court anyway as there's nothing else you can do.


The expression "blood out of stones" springs to mind.

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I would follow the excellent advice Bookworm has given.


Should this fail it may be worth mentioning that the local press would like this story - that might make them think again!



I limit myself to responding to threads where I feel I have enough knowledge to make a useful contribution. My advice (and indeed any advice on this type of forum) should only be seen as a pointer to something you may wish to investigate further. Never act on any forum advice without confirmation from an accountable source.

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Thanks Bookworm & Uncertain,


Is there any limit in time where an employer can demand the salary back, and have I passed it yet?


Bookworm: do you mean an expenses sheet now or of '07? I dont think I could sort out two years of bank account details and make a account book of it. Just probably in my current situation?


I've looked into the "mistake in fact" law (Avon vs Howlett) - took me all night!!

I think I fit the criteria if i risk it at court:


1) i didnt contribite to the overpayment error

2) I thought it was mine, a month in leiu payment and was in a stressed time due to my Dads illness.

3) "change of position". yep - I'm totally broke now!


Do you think its worth a bash at court? or should I drip-feed at an agreed rate with te ex-employer?


thanks again for any help.



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The problem with the court thing is that you could get a judge Judy type who will conclude: "well, you were overpaid, pay up, end of". :-(


There is however nothing to stop you from doing both. Try to settle it on drip-feed first, if they insist on taking you to court, then defend with the mistake in law part, if you win, great, if you lose, you can still show the judge you can't afford to pay more than £x AND show that you tried to settle this amicably, but THEY were the unreasonable ones in the circumstances. :-D


By I&E, I mean your current situation: how much you have coming in per week/month, how much you have going out and for what, listing them in order of priority (rent/mortgage, utilities, council tax, food, then working down to the least important, overdrafts, credit cards etc) to show that you have little or no disposable income now.


If you look around, you can find templates for E&I, do a search on Google and adapt to your needs.

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