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Hi everyone,

 

I was overpaid by an ex employer (apparently). They've just sent me a letter 3 months after I've left the company stating I was overpaid some 107 hours and that I owe £500. I only worked part time for them when I was caring for my mother and when my mother's condition deteriorated, I went on leave. I left at the end of September and haven't worked since. I am looking for new work, but haven't listed them as a former employer, because I didn't leave under the best of terms anyway.

 

My aunt gave me a loan recently for another reason, so I have the money at the moment, but since I'm not working and still caring for my mother. I would like to keep this money because I have no other income. I also have no recollection of the exact dates they mention and the number of hours I have worked, because I transferred branches mid way through working there and my payslips were sent to the old store.

 

Does anyone have any advice on this matter?

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Send a letter to your previous employer and ask for an explanation on how the alleged overpayment occurred.

 

In that same letter say if an overpayment is confirmed request if you can set up a repayment plan being currently unemployed and being the offical carer for your mother

 

The key is a paper trail to show you are being reasonable

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Send a letter to your previous employer and ask for an explanation on how the alleged overpayment occurred.

 

In that same letter say if an overpayment is confirmed request if you can set up a repayment plan being currently unemployed and being the offical carer for your mother

 

The key is a paper trail to show you are being reasonable

 

Thank you for replying.

 

If it is that they made an error in overpaying me. Do I have to repay them? They could have contacted me a while ago whilst this was still fresh and now they're plucking dates out of thin air, dating back to June.

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That is why you are requesting a breakdown in writing to confirm how any alleged overpayment occurred.

 

And yes you do have to pay it back as a contract of employment is still a contract. They can issue a court claim to recover any alleged shortfall.

 

It is not as though you were paid in excess over a protracted period of time and genuinely believed you were entitled to any alleged overpayment

 

You need documentation from your previous employer before any reasonable advice can be given

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They've just sent me a letter 3 months after I've left the company stating I was overpaid some 107 hours and that I owe £500.

 

The figures given don't add up. £500 for 107 hours of work equates to an hourly rate of just £4.67. This is well below the national minimum wage as set out in law. Even when the NMW was introduced back in 2010, it was £5.93 if over 21 (£4.92 if between 18 & 20). See https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates for the historical rates.

 

If you have been paid less than the NMW during this period of employment, then you should be the one making demands. Check your pay slips if you had any.

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The figures given don't add up. £500 for 107 hours of work equates to an hourly rate of just £4.67. This is well below the national minimum wage as set out in law. Even when the NMW was introduced back in 2010, it was £5.93 if over 21 (£4.92 if between 18 & 20). See https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates for the historical rates.

 

If you have been paid less than the NMW during this period of employment, then you should be the one making demands. Check your pay slips if you had any.

 

Hi Mr P,

 

The hourly rate on the pay slip is right, but going off from the letter, that's the number of hours I've been overpaid and that is the amount I owe. Obviously, I'm not sure how they've come up with these numbers.

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I'm in a similar situation. 3 months later, ex-employer claiming I've been overpaid & they still haven't sent me my final payslip despite written requests. Temporarily looking after mother full-time whilst I find a job closer to her. Like you I have some money (from sale of house, intended for deposit on house locally & to keep me going until I do find work - as I resigned I think I'm not entitled to state benefits?). I've written to them today (and the debt collection agency they immediately washed their hands to) explaining I need more evidence of the overpayment (especially as they failed to make my final payment on time in the first place due to another "payroll error". Good luck with this - everything seems to be stacked on the employer's side nowadays.

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I'm in a similar situation. 3 months later, ex-employer claiming I've been overpaid & they still haven't sent me my final payslip despite written requests. Temporarily looking after mother full-time whilst I find a job closer to her. Like you I have some money (from sale of house, intended for deposit on house locally & to keep me going until I do find work - as I resigned I think I'm not entitled to state benefits?). I've written to them today (and the debt collection agency they immediately washed their hands to) explaining I need more evidence of the overpayment (especially as they failed to make my final payment on time in the first place due to another "payroll error". Good luck with this - everything seems to be stacked on the employer's side nowadays.

 

I left on bad terms, but I'm really disgusted by the management of this company.

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Nothing is stacked on the employers side for either of you. If you were overpaid, then you owe the money back. If you weren't, then you don't. Nothing stacked at all. Personal circumstances really don't mitigate whether you owe the money. The employer must show the reason why you owe the money - but if correct, then you need to come to some arrangement to repay it.

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I'm fully aware that the amount (IF it is accurate - and I have reason to believe it isn't) will need to be paid back. However (a) they could simply have contacted me, not immediately referred to a 3rd party, particularly a debt collection agency which could impact my credit score :mad2: and (b) they should have provided the information for the calculation (i.e. my payslip) long ago.

 

They need not have been so heavy handed, and this reflects badly on them as a company. Ex-employees (and their friends and families) are potential ex-customers too as a result of this, nor would I recommend anyone too them as a potential employer. Whilst one person's contacts hardly makes a difference to their bottom line (min. of 20 x 20 people each they will tell), multiply that up by all the other ex-employees with incorrect pay calculations over the last few years and for a company with such a high turnover of people, that's a lot of the UK population influenced.

 

What goes around, comes around.

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107 hours overpayment is a lot of time, that is nearly 3 weeks full time. I can see where they may get the figure of £500 from if they are claiming back the net amount so not a NMW issue. This does not alter what you should do though and that is ask for an exact breakdown of this alleged debt so ask for detaisl of the hours worked intotal, dates and where they think the overpayment comes from. You may then compare this with what information you can look at in your own pay records/diary and if they differ you may challenge them as to the veracity of their claim. If they have got things wrong in one place they wont be keen on going down the legal route to recover the money as they would risk having the entire claim chucked out for a relatively small accounting error. This places you in a position of being able to say that you agree they overpaid you of Y hours and that you can repay this overpayment by standing order at £x per month.

If their figures are entirelyfanciful then you tell them that. Sometimes people's records get confused.

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Nothing is stacked on the employers side for either of you. If you were overpaid, then you owe the money back. If you weren't, then you don't. Nothing stacked at all. Personal circumstances really don't mitigate whether you owe the money. The employer must show the reason why you owe the money - but if correct, then you need to come to some arrangement to repay it.

 

Thank you for your input.

 

You seem to think that the employer should have no responsibility in making sure they've done things correctly. Even now, as they write to me, they may or may not have their figures correct, as it doesn't match my hourly rate. As a consumer, if I made that many mistakes paying money in someone, I for sure would lose out.

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107 hours overpayment is a lot of time, that is nearly 3 weeks full time. I can see where they may get the figure of £500 from if they are claiming back the net amount so not a NMW issue. This does not alter what you should do though and that is ask for an exact breakdown of this alleged debt so ask for detaisl of the hours worked intotal, dates and where they think the overpayment comes from. You may then compare this with what information you can look at in your own pay records/diary and if they differ you may challenge them as to the veracity of their claim. If they have got things wrong in one place they wont be keen on going down the legal route to recover the money as they would risk having the entire claim chucked out for a relatively small accounting error. This places you in a position of being able to say that you agree they overpaid you of Y hours and that you can repay this overpayment by standing order at £x per month.

If their figures are entirelyfanciful then you tell them that. Sometimes people's records get confused.

 

I will definitely be doing this. I'm just so confused as to where the figures are coming from. I'm worried they have the hours right but not the amount and I would actually end up owing even more!

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Thank you for your input.

 

You seem to think that the employer should have no responsibility in making sure they've done things correctly. Even now, as they write to me, they may or may not have their figures correct, as it doesn't match my hourly rate. As a consumer, if I made that many mistakes paying money in someone, I for sure would lose out.

 

No. I don't say that, I didn't imply that, and I don't think that. I responded specifically to a point that stated that everything is stacked in favour of employers. That is not the case. The employer is responsible for justifying how they have calculated an alleged debt, just as you would be if the circumstances were reversed. You have been told that already, so there was no need to repeat it. Nobody, including employers, can simply say "you owe me money, pay up". Everyone must prove it. Until such time as they do proved it, then you are not obliged to repay anything. If they do prove it, then you are. There is nothing "stacked" in that. As a consumer, if you made a mistake with money, the situation would be exactly the same. You would have to prove that you had overpaid something, and then you would be entitled to the overpayment back.

 

There are plenty of circumstances in which things are stacked in the employers favour. Most of employment law, for example. But this is not employment law, and there is nothing stacked about it.

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I'm fully aware that the amount (IF it is accurate - and I have reason to believe it isn't) will need to be paid back.

This is really the key thing. Ask the DCA/employer to justify why they think you've been overpaid and provide a full breakdown. You can also request any supporting evidence necessary to substantiate the employer's calculations, such as timesheets and payslips.

 

You'll most likely end up having to pay the overpayment. You must have known you were overpaid if it was anywhere near 107 extra hours? Of course you should be making sure that the amount they are claiming is actually correct.

 

However (a) they could simply have contacted me, not immediately referred to a 3rd party, particularly a debt collection agency which could impact my credit score :mad2:

Don't feel worried about this. DCAs have no more legal powers than you or I. Passing debts to a DCA doesn't affect your credit record.

 

Your credit record would only be impacted if the employer gets a CCJ and you don't pay it within 28 days. The only way this could happen is if the employer served you with small claims track court proceedings, the court issued a CCJ requiring you to pay, and you then failed to pay the CCJ within 28 days.

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Don't feel worried about this. DCAs have no more legal powers than you or I. Passing debts to a DCA doesn't affect your credit record.

 

Your credit record would only be impacted if the employer gets a CCJ and you don't pay it within 28 days. The only way this could happen is if the employer served you with small claims track court proceedings, the court issued a CCJ requiring you to pay, and you then failed to pay the CCJ within 28 days.

 

^^^ This^^^

 

Having recently (and it's probably still!) had dealings with a DCA for the first time over a Sky bill that I don't owe them, Sky did exactly the same thing - passed the "debt" to a DCA immediately without even asking me for the money I don't owe them! It seems to me that this is the route of preference for everyone now - they don't expect to get any money, whether you owe them it or not, so DCA's are the preferred method of trying to intimidate people. From what I can see of people, most will pay up, so it works. To be fair, a lot of them will also owe the money anyway. But not everyone. A DCA doesn't seem to be interested in whether you owe it or not. I read recently that HMRC is now doing the same thing! I don't think it has got anything to do with employment - it is just the world as it currently is.

 

I got advice on one of the other CAG boards - but I knew it still came down to "I don't owe them" or "I owe them", and I didn't. I ignored the DCA and wrote directly to the CEO of Sky, pointing out that not only did I not owe them this money, but in getting advice on what to do I discovered that they owed me money because they had levied an unfair exit charge. That was a month ago. Funny. Sky haven't answered, they haven't refunded the money they took - and the DCA said they would postpone further action for a month but that I had to let them know what was happening in 28 days. They can get stuffed. I won't be answering them again. I have written evidence of my challenge to Sky and the money they owe me. I don't expect to get it back. But I will be happy for them to take me to court so that I can! And if the DCA continue to contact me they will end up on the wrong end of a complaint to the OFT.

 

So it is what it is - it simply comes down to whether or not you owe the money. It isn't personal. If the employer can prove that you owe the debt, then that is what it is. If they can't then you don't owe a penny. So there isn't much point in getting steamed up about it, taking it personally, and feeling that it is all stacked against you. They can't prove what isn't true. And the DCA can't do anything to make it true.

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