To pay, or not to pay? Land Registry letter three months after redundancy…

Dear Trevor

Overpayment

I am writing to advise you that you have been overpaid in the sum of £346.81. Unfortunately, this has become apparent when we were calculating your final leave and flexi balances following your final day of service.

Your leave started on 1 January 2010 and you left on 31 July 2010. The proportion of leave you were entitled to between 1 Jan – 31 July was 72.56 hours and you had taken 111.10 hours. (Note – leave calculated in hours rather than days was the curse of the part timer. TC.) You therefore, had a deficit on your leave of -37.54 hours. (ie, five working days. TC.) You also had a flexi debit of -1.60 hours.

Please would you repay the overpayment by forwarding a cheque payable to HM Land Registry for £346.81 to the HR Service Centre. A reply envelope is enclosed. […]

We appreciate that this is a significant sum of money and could cause you financial hardship. If this is the case, please contact us to discuss the possibility of making payments by instalments.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but if you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter, please call the HR Service Centre.

Yours sincerely

Transition Team.

Well, wasn’t that a lovely surprise. This arrived three and a half months after getting my final pay from Land Registry. I couldn’t believe it. I knew I’d used more than my entitlement of leave, of course, but assumed that had been taken into account in my final pay. So I mentioned it the letter on Facebook and got quite a few comments…

  • Just what you need near Christmas; I would let them wait for it.
  • Let them wait for it! Their error!
  • If accepted in good faith, already spent and you weren’t aware of it, then you don’t have to pay it back.
  • Their error, you might not have to pay it back.
  • They will hunt you down and pursue you to all corners of the globe should you try to hide!!
  • Make ’em wait!
  • Tell them you’ll pay it back at a rate of £5 a month then hope they shut down before you have paid it all!!!
  • Check out employment and accounting law, make no offer to repay as yet. Tell them you don’t think you were overpaid and now don’t have the money as you received it in good faith and have spent it. It is their error and they should write it off as a bad debt. We used to write off loads each year in finance because of that.
  • Can’t believe they have the cheek! Make you redundant then ask for some money back!!
  • B*rstards!
  • I see that they still can’t get it right!!!!!!!
  • They are throwing more than that in the skips in the car park trevor dont pay them.
  • Don’t you get squatters rights after that long?
  • What are they going to do Trevor if you dont pay?….send the “I owe the LR money police” around and kick your door in. It would cost them far too much to collect it from you and they are skint. I would send a bag of coppers to Finance as a gesture of good will and tell them thats all thats left in the kitty …and anymore threatening letters like that then your brief will be in contact with them lol….They will run a mile!!

That one about “receiving the money in good faith” got me thinking, so I fished out the original redundancy letter. Sure enough, it says… “If you have taken more than your pro-rated entitlement for the leave year up to your last day of service Land Registry will deduct the appropriate amount from your final salary payment. (My emphasis). You should also ensure that you reduce any flexi credit or debit to zero.

So I responded:

  • Hmm. You might have a point about challenging at least some of it. The overpayment was mostly because I’d used more than my leave entitlement for the part-year. But the redundancy letter does say that will be deducted from my final salary payment, so I ought to try the “accepted in good faith” argument for that. A small part was because I was slightly in flexi debit, so I’ll accept that as they couldn’t know until the end of my last day that I’d be down.

And my friend replied:

  • Definitely if they have said it would be deducted and they didn’t do so, it would be right to challenge that. From working in LR finance they will write stuff off if not recovered. Just challenge the entire thing and tell them that it’s their mistake, not yours and so they should not expect any payment from you.

Hmm. What to do? Here’s what I’m thinking just now. The flexi debit is a fair cop: I should have worked that last 1.6 hours to make it up to zero. But the leave I had every reason to expect to have been taken into account. So my plan – unless I am persuaded otherwise – is to reply with a cheque for £14.18 to cover the flexi element – and no more. Please do let me know what you’d do.


Photo: Banknotes by howardlake on Flickr.

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2 thoughts on “To pay, or not to pay? Land Registry letter three months after redundancy…

  1. Julia Ball

    Trev, they are hoist by their own petard, that letter is your new best friend, but what I advice is to get yourself over to http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk the employment section and see what they say, they have some very good experts who will give very good advice.

    Personally, I think that they are trying it on, they know that they have made a mistake and they are banking on you not knowing your rights.

    Julia XX

    Reply

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