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Beware u

join:2009-12-26
reply to tcope

Re: I got a refund check and now they want the money back

said by tcope:

They can ask for it back but I don't see that you have any obligation to return it. Them having a case would depend on local laws... but most are against them. They voluntarily gave you the money... so you've done nothing illegal by accepting it. Look at it this way... I give you a gift and then I ask for it back. You have no obligation to return the gift to me as I voluntarily gave it to you. Once they gave you the money... it was yours. I can't give someone something as a gift and then demand it back at any time.

They are certainly welcome to pursue you in civil court but 1) it's going to cost them _way_ more then $200 to collect it back and 2) they probably won't win as again, they voluntarily gave you the money.

Personally, I'd keep the money and wish them happy holidays. I feel it's a little rude for them to ask for it back. They should have just caulked it up to a $200 mistake and moved on.

Now that I think of it... I gave my neighbor a Christmas present maybe I'll go next door and demand it back.

Try to do that with the IRS if they they send a refund by mistake... and see what happens when you refuse to give it back!
Anything that doesn't rightfully belong to you, is not yours to keep!


SrsBsns

join:2001-08-30
Oklahoma City, OK

1 edit
reply to PX Eliezer70
said by SpicedUped :

So, just to clear things up ... I don't think this is a scam since the check cleared and the money was in my account (I have read about these check scams where they overpay and ask for some of the money back before the check clears so I was a little suspicious at first). Because it was a little strange, I ended up depositing it in my old bank account that I used in college before I got married which was still open but only had like $5 in it. Today I went in and withdrew the $205 and closed the account (it was the last account I had at that bank anyway) and everything went smoothly. Now I have $200 cash in hand for beer or something. W00t!

You might not be out of the woods yet. Dont end up like this guy. »www.rhlaw.com/blog/nigerian-scam···verside/

The bank’s notification that the checks had "cleared" but that only gives provisional credit until the collection is final.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to tcope
quote:
Very well could be but it's also in the eyes of the recipient. Any "giver" could always claim it was a mistake
Fortunately, the issue isn't what people can *claim.* I can claim that I'm the King of England. Unfortunately, I cannot prove it. And proof is not just a matter of what people say their intent was, but what the surrounding circumstances would indicate to reasonable people.

If I know you - and if we are friends - and I show up at your birthday party and give you a check for $200, I certainly may later claim that it was all a "mistake." But - absent any other facts - my claim of a "mistake" is not likely to sway a reasonable jury or judge.

Likewise, most businesses are NOT in the habit of issuing random "gifts" of $200 (by check or cash) to former customers. Additionally, you ignore the fact that the business issued the check in question as a "refund" and stated that much - which clearly indicates that it was NOT a gift as far as they were concerned. Therefore, a claim made said business that it issued you the check by "mistake" - and not as a "gift" - is likely to be believed by a reasonable jury or judge.

Again, the matter is NOT - as you keep wanting to assert - that it was "freely given," but rather the INTENT that accompanied that which was "freely given."

Intent is NOT just a matter of subjective point of view ( i,e,that of the giver or the recipient), but can also be inferred from the surrounding facts and circumstances. In this case, the giver did not intend a gift (subjectively stated) and the facts do not reasonably support that it was intended as a gift as the check was marked or accompanied by paperwork stating that it was a "refund."

By definition, a "refund" is NOT a gift, but a return of money due to the customer. As the OP was not due any money as a "refund" he cannot reasonably treat the check as a "gift."

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
said by Mce Saint:

quote:
Very well could be but it's also in the eyes of the recipient. Any "giver" could always claim it was a mistake
Fortunately, the issue isn't what people can *claim.* I can claim that I'm the King of England. Unfortunately, I cannot prove it. And proof is not just a matter of what people say their intent was, but what the surrounding circumstances would indicate to reasonable people.

If I know you - and if we are friends - and I show up at your birthday party and give you a check for $200, I certainly may later claim that it was all a "mistake." But - absent any other facts - my claim of a "mistake" is not likely to sway a reasonable jury or judge.

Likewise, most businesses are NOT in the habit of issuing random "gifts" of $200 (by check or cash) to former customers. Additionally, you ignore the fact that the business issued the check in question as a "refund" and stated that much - which clearly indicates that it was NOT a gift as far as they were concerned. Therefore, a claim made said business that it issued you the check by "mistake" - and not as a "gift" - is likely to be believed by a reasonable jury or judge.

Again, the matter is NOT - as you keep wanting to assert - that it was "freely given," but rather the INTENT that accompanied that which was "freely given."

Intent is NOT just a matter of subjective point of view ( i,e,that of the giver or the recipient), but can also be inferred from the surrounding facts and circumstances. In this case, the giver did not intend a gift (subjectively stated) and the facts do not reasonably support that it was intended as a gift as the check was marked or accompanied by paperwork stating that it was a "refund."

By definition, a "refund" is NOT a gift, but a return of money due to the customer. As the OP was not due any money as a "refund" he cannot reasonably treat the check as a "gift."

By the way, as an addendum to the above, let me just say this notion that because something was "freely given" - standing alone by itself (absent intent, knowledge of facts, etc.) - makes it "legal" is wrong.

In the classic "pigeon drop scam," the victim "freely gives" the con artists his/her cash . . . under, of course, a mistake belief as to their identity and completely unaware of their intention to rip him/her off.

The "pigeon drop scam" is fraud and prosecutable as such. The fact that the fraudsters relied on the victim's cooperation - in lieu of a gun - to get their cash, doesn't make the scam legal. Nor does it mean that the con artists received a "gift" from the victim.


John K

@conquesthousing.com
reply to KrK
quote:
Talk about missing the point. It's like a brick wall in here.

You think so, too, eh?

quote:
My point is the poster thinks it's fine and dandy if he keeps the money and I pointed out would he have the same position if it happened to him in reverse.

You weren't "pointing something out," you were -hoping- for a specific outcome: big difference. This is what you wrote:

quote:
Hope when someone finds your wallet they have the same viewpoint. Fsck this guy, he was dumb, I can keep this cash and use his cards around town. Not my problem, he deserves his penalty.

My point was that, even if someone with the above attitude loses his wallet, -according to what you profess to believe in-, you shouldn't "hope" that the person finding it has such an attitude: you should hope that the wallet is safely returned with the contents intact.

Your apparent desire to have someone find the wallet and keep the cash/use the credit cards of someone you don't agree with makes your professed "morality" inconsistent; you're wishing ill fortune on someone merely because they do not happen to agree with you.

quote:
... but I'm sure you knew that.

And I'm sure you know that failing to apply your own professed philosophy consistently is a less-than-admirable trait (there's even a word for it). That's what I was attempting to point out to you.

As I said, I don't care -what- philosophy you have, so long as you apply it consistently. By saying what you did, it's obvious that you're not interested in applying your -own philosophy- consistently, but feel free to change it according to whether you like someone or not.

quote:
This thread is full of people who will justify or rationalize any excuse to keep property, money, or whatever doesn't belong to them AND THEY KNOW IT--- not mere ignorance or not knowing, but willfully and deliberately keeping it.

Their candor and forthrightness is refreshing, isn't it?

It renews my faith in the human race to see so many people Tell It Like It Is as opposed to acting all Goody Two Shoes, which is easy enough to do on an Internet message board.

After all, the only one who's actually -got- a $200 check in their hands is the OP. I expect those justifications and rationalizations you object to so strenuously would be flying just as thick and fast from all the professedly "good" people if -everyone- posting here were in the OP's (non-Goody Two) shoes.

Give me a good honest crook -any- day.


MikeTest
Non-Believer

join:2010-10-19
Moribund
You know, I'd still like to hear from a Lawyer in here on this.

The check is unsolicited. Not a bank error, not an incorrect refund from the government, or even an overpayment by an employer or an insurance company.

The morality aspect I find tragically boring. The legal aspect however is quite intriguing. We have opinions all over the place too. From 'good for you, enjoy the free beer' to 'you're going down for theft!'.

What's the law say? I can't find anything that specifically address the particulars in this case. and IANAL.


koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK
If it were just a random check in the mail, addressed to you, with no other documentation, I would think the money is his. However, since the check came with a letter about a refund, I think it falls under a different law.

Also, IANAL either.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
said by koolman2:

If it were just a random check in the mail, addressed to you, with no other documentation, I would think the money is his. However, since the check came with a letter about a refund, I think it falls under a different law.

Also, IANAL either.

You already have. My answer is a "law school" type answer, based on general principals of contract law, general knowledge of depositor agreements, general principles and provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as applied to checks.

Whether there is some quirk in the OP's state laws is unknown (and unknowable). I'm assuming that I'm not licensed to practice law in his state (he doesn't tell us what state or country he lives in, but his ISP is Pacbell and I'm only licensed in one state west of the Mississippi River (Missouri)).

But if he were in Missouri and if he was my client, I'd certainly advise him that he has some exposure/liability to the company - at least to the value of the $200 check. Beyond that, I can find nothing that would expose him for "collection costs." I further think that characterizing it as "theft" - as a legal matter - is a very, very large stretch. I think it most likely that the Bank would sue him, if at all, in "conversion" which is a tort

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to John K
quote:
After all, the only one who's actually -got- a $200 check in their hands is the OP. I expect those justifications and rationalizations you object to so strenuously would be flying just as thick and fast from all the professedly "good" people if -everyone- posting here were in the OP's (non-Goody Two) shoes.
Well, it wasn't a $200 check, it was a check for $137.

The wife was going to buy some furniture and opened a "store account". Changed her mind, but only AFTER the credit had been approved and the "charge" posted to the account.

Long story short: the credit company both reversed the charge on her account AND issued a check (equal to the amount of the first payment they had already reversed) as a "refund."

Nope didn't cash the check. Does that make me a "goody two shoes" I dunno.

But as a practical matter I believe that, eventually, the credit company would have figured it all out and just charged the account for the amount of the "refund."

As she wasn't entitled to two "refunds" (one in the form of a credit to her account; one in the form of a refund check), it's hard to construct a legally sound argument for cashing the check or keeping the money.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Beware u
said by Beware u:

Try to do that with the IRS if they they send a refund by mistake... and see what happens when you refuse to give it back!

The IRS is different. There are _specific_ laws that allow them to collect the money back. In this case it's a civil matter.
said by Beware u:

Anything that doesn't rightfully belong to you, is not yours to keep!

... and this is the question, isn't it. Is it legally the OP's to keep.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Mce Saint
said by Mce Saint:

Likewise, most businesses are NOT in the habit of issuing random "gifts" of $200 (by check or cash) to former customers.

But the same laws apply. There is not one set for friends and another set for businesses.

My main point along that line of thought is the receivers point of mind and state. If the OP was freely given something he/she should have some sort of standing to consider those fund his/hers. The OP could have thought he was entitled to the money and spent it... or made decision based on having those funds. Is it then right to screw over the OP because the business made a "mistake" and now want their money back? There are two different views that the legal system will consider in this matter.

Part of the problem is that some people want to combine the moral value and legal value all into one. It does not work that way.

said by Mce Saint:

Additionally, you ignore the fact that the business issued the check in question as a "refund" and stated that much - which clearly indicates that it was NOT a gift as far as they were concerned. Therefore, a claim made said business that it issued you the check by "mistake" - and not as a "gift" - is likely to be believed by a reasonable jury or judge.

I agree that this would/could be the issue brought up in court... no doubt about that. But then this also considers that the OP is taken to court. The business would need to serve the OP and the OP could always give the money back at any point. But two things to also consider... would the business be willing to spend the money to take the OP to court and also, the business would be stuck with the legal costs (the judge would not stick the OP with these as their is no contract to address this and the OP has a right to dispute that he owes money back that was freely given to him.

said by Mce Saint:

Again, the matter is NOT - as you keep wanting to assert - that it was "freely given," but rather the INTENT that accompanied that which was "freely given."

I'm sorry... but it _was_ freely given. Look up the definition and you will see that it fits perfectly. In that the business _later_ discovered that they made a _mistake_ does not change how it was given to the OP. The OP did not force the company to give the money, he did not trick them out of it, he did not mislead the company in anyway. The money just showed up. That is _certainly_ money that was given "freely".

said by Mce Saint:

By definition, a "refund" is NOT a gift, but a return of money due to the customer. As the OP was not due any money as a "refund" he cannot reasonably treat the check as a "gift."

This is a very good argument that the business could bring up in court... and it is probably their best and one/only argument to get the money back.

But I also don't see that the OP legally owes the money back until a judge rules and _that_ is what the OP asked about.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Mce Saint
said by Mce Saint:

The "pigeon drop scam" is fraud and prosecutable as such. The fact that the fraudsters relied on the victim's cooperation - in lieu of a gun - to get their cash, doesn't make the scam legal. Nor does it mean that the con artists received a "gift" from the victim.

The difference here is that the OP did not have a plan to fraudulently obtain the money from the business. In what you describe we need to look at the entire picture and it can be shown that the intent of the fraudsters was to defraud the victim of the money (a plan was in place to do this).

My use of the word "freely" was very general. But the OP also never intended to obtain the money by fraudulent means.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to tcope
Actually the OP's question was:

"So my question is, since it was addressed to me, and the check cleared, can they really legally demand I give the money back? I'm thinking no but thought I'd put the question out there."

And, tcope, since you're wanting to hyper-literal and all, the answer is yes: they can LEGALLY DEMAND that OP give the money back. They can demand anything they want.

If you want to take his question less hyper-literally as "am I legally liable to the company for the amount of money?"

The answer, again, is: yes.

If the OP - as a strategy to avoid paying the money back - makes the company go through the hoops of obtaining a judgment against the OP and, then, attempting to enforce the judgment, that's a strategy, but it doesn't alter the legal liability of OP at all.

I know LOTS of clients who simply don't care about their "legal liability" because - at the end of the day - they're simply trying to survive. So, the longer they put off a reckoning, the better off they believe they are. And, if a judgment is entered against them . . . well, there's always bankruptcy.

But, that's a *strategy* not a legal analysis.

As I said in a prior post, the company COULD take the position that OP is indebted to it for the sum of $200 and send the matter over to collections. That would be one of the strategies available to it - short of calling in the lawyers.

I note that you skipped over the part of my post that stated that the cause of action the company would likely pursue against the OP if they took him to court would be the tort of "conversion." There's also the cause of action for "unjust enrichment." Are there possible defenses arguments that OP or his lawyer could raise? Sure.

Yes, lawyers can argue two, three, or four sides of anything. And there can never be any guarantees.

But, as a lawyer, my job is to assess the merits of a client's case. And to assess the likely outcome at the outset . . . not to tell the client what the outcome is AFTER a judgment is entered.

In this instance - looking at it from both sides - I like the chances of the company against the OP IF it decided to pursue a claim for $200. And, if they didn't want to spend the money to sue, I'd support the company taking less formal collection efforts.

In my opinion, the company wins a judgment against the Plaintiff in the amount of $200 . . . 99 times out of 100 that this case gets filed.

At the same time, if OP walked into my office and was willing to pay my fee, I'd do my best to represent him/her . . . but honesty and ethics require me to point out to OP that it may be in his best interest to settle with the company on the most favorable terms he could obtain. If the Plaintiff wants to take the risk that he'll be sued and, likely, lose, well that's his business. And if the client wanted my assistance in avoiding enforcement of the judgment through 100% legal means (i.e., NOT fraudulent ones), then I would. Lawyers take cr*ppy cases like this they know they'll ultimately likely lose all the time.


r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44
reply to SpicedUped
If someone mails a check to you with your name on it then you legally can keep the money.
No court will make you return it.
Unfortunately the law does not allow for take backs when you accidently write a check out to someone or give them cash.
No law would force you to return the money.

The only way you must return the check/money is if you did something fraudulent.

Small claims does not necessary follow the laws. If they took you to small claims for a civil dispute they would probably only get their money back if you pissed off the judge or the judge did not like you for some reason, otherwise the judge will tell the company to stop giving out free checks and not make you return anything.
--
Your behavior is inconsistent with your desire to be treated like everyone else.


MikeTest
Non-Believer

join:2010-10-19
Moribund
reply to Mce Saint
said by Mce Saint:

As I said in a prior post, the company COULD take the position that OP is indebted to it for the sum of $200 and send the matter over to collections. That would be one of the strategies available to it - short of calling in the lawyers.

In my opinion, the company wins a judgment against the Plaintiff in the amount of $200 . . . 99 times out of 100 that this case gets filed.

Thanks, after looking around some more I do think they would send it to collections.

I'd also like to say what a shitty thing I think that would be to do.
Ding somebodies' credit score because of your f-up? I mean collections to me, is to be used for when a person extends some sort of credit line or accumulates some sort of debt via a contractual agreement.

Oh well, he can at least enjoy the beer for now.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to tcope
For the record, I wrote:

quote:
Again, the matter is NOT - as you keep wanting to assert - that it was "freely given," but rather the INTENT that accompanied that which was "freely given."
And your reply was:

quote:
I'm sorry... but it _was_ freely given.
Who are you "arguing" with? I did not say it wasn't "freely given." I did, however, clearly state that whether it was freely given (or not) was NOT - as you want to make it - the ONLY and DECISIVE issue in resolving the legal positions/liabilities of OP and the company.

You keep ignoring the more decisive issue: intent of the parties. And, as I've now stated several times, intent is found both from viewing the subjective mindset of the company and the OP AND from the objective facts surrounding the event.

Freely given or not, the fact that the check WAS accompanied by a letter stating that it was a "refund" means that OP KNEW the company wasn't making or intending to make a gift to him.

In a courtroom, no judge or jury is going to let OP ignore that knowledge and turn a blind-eye to the "refund" language that accompanied the check and find that the OP, under those circumstances, REASONABLY believed that it was "gift."

In so far as "screwing over the parties" I fail to see how it's "screwing over" the OP to hold him liable for a check denominated as a "refund" when he admits that from the beginning he wasn't DUE a refund from the company.

It strikes me the OP spends such a check at his own risk: the risk being that he spends the $200 on wine, women and song and, then, later is on the hook to the company to repay the $200.

Some clients are willing to accept that risk . . . others are not.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to MikeTest
quote:
I'd also like to say what a shitty thing I think that would be to do.
In terms of shittiness - being a business owner myself as well as a consumer - I'd say it's as equally shitty as taking a check denominated as a refund and cashing the check - when you know from the outset that you're not due the refund -and then telling the company to pound sand.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
reply to r81984
quote:
No law would force you to return the money.

Tort law could. "Unjust enrichment" comes to mind. As does conversion.

But, hey, you're free to do whatever. Who am I to deny a legal fee to my lawyer brothers and sisters. If people didn't do stupid stuff, there would be a whole lot less for us to do.


r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44
said by Mce Saint:

quote:
No law would force you to return the money.

Tort law could. "Unjust enrichment" comes to mind. As does conversion.

But, hey, you're free to do whatever. Who am I to deny a legal fee to my lawyer brothers and sisters. If people didn't do stupid stuff, there would be a whole lot less for us to do.

Giving someone money for no reason is not conversion or unjust enrichment.
There was a case a few years ago where someone recieved an advertisement check but that had the companies payroll account numbers on it. The person cashed it and the courts ruled it did not have to be returned as it was unsolicited and in his name to his address.

Now unjust enrichment might apply if the money was intended to go to someone else, but that person would have to sue not the company.

The company can't do anything to get their money back. Any fight they try will just be scare tactics or a waste of time.
Also any collections problems or ding the recipients credit report would be easily removed as it would not be a value debt.

You can't go around sending people money and then harass them to return it.
--
Your behavior is inconsistent with your desire to be treated like everyone else.


drslash
Goya Asma
Premium
join:2002-02-18
Marion, IA
reply to r81984
said by r81984:

If someone mails a check to you with your name on it then you legally can keep the money.
No court will make you return it.
Unfortunately the law does not allow for take backs when you accidently write a check out to someone or give them cash.
No law would force you to return the money.

The only way you must return the check/money is if you did something fraudulent.

Small claims does not necessary follow the laws. If they took you to small claims for a civil dispute they would probably only get their money back if you pissed off the judge or the judge did not like you for some reason, otherwise the judge will tell the company to stop giving out free checks and not make you return anything.

I am pretty sure you are wrong. If all of the circumstances of the OP were that same but the amount in question was $100,000 instead of $200, the company cutting the check would get a judgment to get it back in a civil proceeding. Whether the defendant would actually pay it back is another matter. Mce Saint See Profile's arguments about the contracts or lack of contracts between the two parties would be the crucial evidence.
--
Save water...drink beer!
--
Obama...it's junior high school all over again!
--
Democrats don't mind raising taxes because democrats don't pay taxes.


John K

@conquesthousing.com
reply to Mce Saint
quote:
Nope didn't cash the check. Does that make me a "goody two shoes" I dunno.



Here's the thing:

quote:
My answer is a "law school" type answer, based on general principals of contract law, general knowledge of depositor agreements, general principles and provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as applied to checks.

How many people on DSLR have completed law school and have the letters "JD" after their name (or "LLB," I suppose, if they're an older person)? Expressed as a percentage of the total number of posters, I would be quite surprised if that percentage exceeded 5% (being a member, you can open up a poll to settle this question; surprise me!).

With your clearly -a-typical knowledge of "contract law, general knowledge of depositor agreements, general principles and provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as applied to checks," it's easy to see that you have a better-than-average understanding of what would likely have happened if you -had- cashed the $137 check.

Put another way: if the type of knowledge you have were commonplace here on DSLR, it's doubtful this thread would ever have gotten to seven (count 'em) pages. The OP's question would likely have been definitively answered in the first page or two.

So:

quote:
But if he were in Missouri and if he was my client, I'd certainly advise him that he has some exposure/liability to the company - at least to the value of the $200 check.

Being who you are, (someone with a background in law) and being aware of your own wife's exposure/liability, I'm sure you weren't remiss in advising your wife -not- to cash the "extra" check she had received (you -do- love your wife don't you)?

quote:
As she wasn't entitled to two "refunds" (one in the form of a credit to her account; one in the form of a refund check), it's hard to construct a legally sound argument for cashing the check or keeping the money.

And, knowing this as you did, the check went uncashed.

My point? It's not hard to "do the right thing" when you are all-too-aware of the potential consequences you face. So while you can (reasonably) argue that what you did was a reflection of your honesty, I think the case can -also- be (reasonably) made that the "extra" check you received went uncashed purely as a matter of practicality (i.e. you were aware that, as you said, "eventually, the credit company would have figured it all out and just charged the account for the amount of the 'refund.')

But you know, all that is actually -beside- the point.

quote:
Whether there is some quirk in the OP's state laws is unknown (and unknowable).

Likewise, what DSLR's do and don't do in meatspace is "unknown (and unknowable)." Everything we know and don't know about each other is entirely a matter of what we choose to post. Agreed?

For example, I fart in bed enough to raise the covers, but how likely do you think it is that I would ever post about that on DSLR? _Very_ unlikely, as such an personal attribute isn't likely to enhance my standing here (assuming I -have- some sort of standing here; I guess I'm actually squatting). There is, naturally, a tendency for people to paint themselves in a favorable light on message boards. So while I'm sure there -are- honest people on DSLR, the exact percentage is, I'm afraid, always going to remain "unknown (and unknowable)" because we are stuck with having to take each other's word for it.

My problem, and this springs from my own personal experience with human nature, (which, I would hope, would be atypical for DSLR, seeing as how it was paid for so dearly) is that whenever I hear (or see) someone protest about how important it is to "do the right thing," I am reminded of this old chestnut:

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -- Emerson

It's not very nice of me to put it that way, but my own experience with human nature is that it's easy to be honest when there's another set of eyeballs on you, or (like yourself) you have specific knowledge about the ramifications of what it is you are doing (or not doing). As far as what you and I get up to when -no one- is watching, (or we believe chances are good that we can act with impunity) that is "unknown (and unknowable)."

I'm probably not expressing it very well, but I hope you take my point, however clumsily I might be in putting it across: I just don't find folks discussing the value of honesty, how honest they are, or how honest -other- people ought to be in public (or on a message board ) very convincing. That doesn't sound very nice, I know, but I'm (probably) just.....trying to be honest.

One thing I -will- assure you of, and on my word of honor:

[raises voice over the sound of clanking silverware and anxious voices counting in the background]

When I professed earlier to like a "good honest crook" -two- of the three words in that phrase are indubitably applicable to me: you'll have to guess for yourself which two.

Mce Saint
Premium
join:2007-10-03
Saint Louis, MO
said by John K :

quote:
Nope didn't cash the check. Does that make me a "goody two shoes" I dunno.



Here's the thing:

quote:
My answer is a "law school" type answer, based on general principals of contract law, general knowledge of depositor agreements, general principles and provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as applied to checks.

How many people on DSLR have completed law school and have the letters "JD" after their name (or "LLB," I suppose, if they're an older person)? Expressed as a percentage of the total number of posters, I would be quite surprised if that percentage exceeded 5% (being a member, you can open up a poll to settle this question; surprise me!).

With your clearly -a-typical knowledge of "contract law, general knowledge of depositor agreements, general principles and provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as applied to checks," it's easy to see that you have a better-than-average understanding of what would likely have happened if you -had- cashed the $137 check.

Put another way: if the type of knowledge you have were commonplace here on DSLR, it's doubtful this thread would ever have gotten to seven (count 'em) pages. The OP's question would likely have been definitively answered in the first page or two.

So:

quote:
But if he were in Missouri and if he was my client, I'd certainly advise him that he has some exposure/liability to the company - at least to the value of the $200 check.

Being who you are, (someone with a background in law) and being aware of your own wife's exposure/liability, I'm sure you weren't remiss in advising your wife -not- to cash the "extra" check she had received (you -do- love your wife don't you)?

quote:
As she wasn't entitled to two "refunds" (one in the form of a credit to her account; one in the form of a refund check), it's hard to construct a legally sound argument for cashing the check or keeping the money.

And, knowing this as you did, the check went uncashed.

My point? It's not hard to "do the right thing" when you are all-too-aware of the potential consequences you face. So while you can (reasonably) argue that what you did was a reflection of your honesty, I think the case can -also- be (reasonably) made that the "extra" check you received went uncashed purely as a matter of practicality (i.e. you were aware that, as you said, "eventually, the credit company would have figured it all out and just charged the account for the amount of the 'refund.')

But you know, all that is actually -beside- the point.

quote:
Whether there is some quirk in the OP's state laws is unknown (and unknowable).

Likewise, what DSLR's do and don't do in meatspace is "unknown (and unknowable)." Everything we know and don't know about each other is entirely a matter of what we choose to post. Agreed?

For example, I fart in bed enough to raise the covers, but how likely do you think it is that I would ever post about that on DSLR? _Very_ unlikely, as such an personal attribute isn't likely to enhance my standing here (assuming I -have- some sort of standing here; I guess I'm actually squatting). There is, naturally, a tendency for people to paint themselves in a favorable light on message boards. So while I'm sure there -are- honest people on DSLR, the exact percentage is, I'm afraid, always going to remain "unknown (and unknowable)" because we are stuck with having to take each other's word for it.

My problem, and this springs from my own personal experience with human nature, (which, I would hope, would be atypical for DSLR, seeing as how it was paid for so dearly) is that whenever I hear (or see) someone protest about how important it is to "do the right thing," I am reminded of this old chestnut:

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -- Emerson

It's not very nice of me to put it that way, but my own experience with human nature is that it's easy to be honest when there's another set of eyeballs on you, or (like yourself) you have specific knowledge about the ramifications of what it is you are doing (or not doing). As far as what you and I get up to when -no one- is watching, (or we believe chances are good that we can act with impunity) that is "unknown (and unknowable)."

I'm probably not expressing it very well, but I hope you take my point, however clumsily I might be in putting it across: I just don't find folks discussing the value of honesty, how honest they are, or how honest -other- people ought to be in public (or on a message board ) very convincing. That doesn't sound very nice, I know, but I'm (probably) just.....trying to be honest.

One thing I -will- assure you of, and on my word of honor:

[raises voice over the sound of clanking silverware and anxious voices counting in the background]

When I professed earlier to like a "good honest crook" -two- of the three words in that phrase are indubitably applicable to me: you'll have to guess for yourself which two.

Not sure what it is you're responding to here. I never claimed that I was "more honest" or moral than the next person. I told you what happened; and I told you what I did. You're not in "my head" nor I in yours. I care about results, not about the internal machinations of any person's mind as to what led them to take a certain course of action. . . except to the extent that I might be trying to influence another person into a certain result and, therefore, might find trying to understand their psychological process an important part of trying to achieve a result.

Or put differently. I care only that you don't - for example - rob a bank. I don't really care if your thought process behind "not robbing a bank" is (1) god will punish me; (2) it's morally wrong; (3) the penalties are too high; (4) or whatever.

My experience is that a single person can have several "internal machinations" that are at work and influence the actions they take or don't take. Trying to narrow their (subjective) motivation to any single thing, is often near impossible.


John K

@conquesthousing.com
quote:
Not sure what it is you're responding to here.

To be frank, I myself am not clear on why, exactly, you told us the story about the check. Was the check story your way of telling us that not everyone is necessarily like the OP (i.e. ready and willing to cash an "extra" check)? I did acknowledge that in my reply to you:

quote:
So while I'm sure there -are- honest people on DSLR,

I do understand that there are honest people present on DSLR (if that was the point the story of the check was intended to make).

quote:
I told you what happened; and I told you what I did.

Yes, sir, you did: that's beyond question. I'm just not clear on -why- you told us that story.

I'm not saying it wasn't a good story, or that there was anything wrong with you posting it, or anything wrong with -you-, for that matter. I'm just not clear on what the story was in aid of.

quote:
You're not in "my head" nor I in yours.

I agree, and I said something along those lines in my reply:

quote:
Everything we know and don't know about each other is entirely a matter of what we choose to post.

I don't know any more or less about anyone on the board than what they choose to post here. Apart from that, I have no special insights to offer.

quote:
I care about results, not about the internal machinations of any person's mind as to what led them to take a certain course of action. . .

Well, I can understand why someone might only take an interest in the "end result" of things. Trying to understand the motivations of others can be a baffling, sometimes messy, business (and, indeed, even our -own- motivations may not be completely clear to us at times).

quote:
except to the extent that I might be trying to influence another person into a certain result and, therefore, might find trying to understand their psychological process an important part of trying to achieve a result.

Understanding the motivations of others is not, for me, necessarily a matter of "trying to influence another person into a certain result." In my case, I've found that trying to understand motivations (both the motivations of others -and- my own) can simply be good a way to find common ground when at first glance it doesn't appear that there is any.

Sometimes, when you think you're at loggerheads with someone, and you change tack and, rather than heading in the same non-productive direction, (say, your employee wants a raise, and company finances flat-out won't allow you to give him one) you start discussing with them the "why" behind their needs and actions, it becomes possible for you to help them (or at least understand them) better. Maybe you can't give them the raise they want, but you -can- offer them a more flexible schedule, or some other concession they value that won't leave them feeling frustrated and that they've come away empty-handed.

quote:
Or put differently. I care only that you don't - for example - rob a bank. I don't really care if your thought process behind "not robbing a bank" is (1) god will punish me; (2) it's morally wrong; (3) the penalties are too high; (4) or whatever.

Well, see, this is where taking the time and effort to understand what motivations are at work in others could save you a great deal of potential trouble.

Taking your non-bank robber example: I might indeed, just as you say, choose not to rob banks because of reason (1) ("God will punish me"). However, your understanding the "why" of why I'm not knocking over banks as a pastime (rather than being content with the simple fact that I'm not engaged in a bank robbery at the moment) could prove quite valuable. If we're heading out to lunch, and I let slip in casual conversation that, by the way, I've just converted to atheism, (!) your being attuned to the "whys" behind my actions could pay off. Particularly if the place you'd planned on taking me to (you -were- going to pick up the check, right?) has several banks nearby.

(Nothing spoils a good lunch like being named an accessory in a bank robbery.)

What I'm trying to get at here, is that understanding other folks to allow you to "influence another person into a certain result" may be no bad thing (not that you said it was or anything). Sometimes
that "result" may be as simple (and laudible) as keeping someone out of trouble, or keeping them away from former influential associates who may want to get them -back- into trouble.

quote:
My experience is that a single person can have several "internal machinations" that are at work and influence the actions they take or don't take.

I agree entirely. Sometimes, doing things in an apparently "honest" manner may be much less a matter of seeking to "behave honorably" and much -more- a simple, practical matter of avoiding trouble. Or some combination of the two. Or neither.

Life is short, so sometimes honesty can indeed be "the best policy," if only because you have much less to potentially pay for later if all your dealings are open and aboveboard today.

quote:
Trying to narrow their (subjective) motivation to any single thing, is often near impossible.

Well, it could be that attempting to understand a given individual better might take time you simply don't -have- to dedicate to the task. As I mentioned earlier, understanding motivations can be a baffling, sometimes messy business. It can certainly be a time-consuming one, and time is something we're all a little short on.

However, I think it's worth saying (you don't have to agree, I'm just throwing this out there) that we are all reflections of each other. When we make the effort to better understand other people, we also, quite often, end up understanding ourselves a little bit better, too. As time wears on, I've come to believe that a great many of the conflicts of the world (be they between two people or two nations) come about as the result of people simply forgetting about the interconnectedness of all things (people especially).

Anyway, I didn't mean to bore you to death with a lot of "hippie" talk. And speaking of talk, I presently have someone informing me (and in no uncertain terms) that, yes, I -do- need to get suited up NOW or my health will suffer as a result, so I'll have to drop by later for any replies. Cheers.


cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27
reply to SpicedUped
So the OP cashed a check that was in error. He only then knew it was error when a) he received the check, knew it was incorrect, yet still cashed it -or-
b) found out after the check was deposited from said business that it was an error.

If the business found out that it made an error, and it waited till funds were cashed, instead, why didn't they just put a stop payment on the check?

I bet some employee screwed up (with more than one customer) and either left, was laid off (one last yippee!) or the reason they were let go: bad accounts practice.

The OP has to have some guilt: why post here? Why not keep quiet? Why post anonymously? Thanks to the internet, you've admitted to some guilt by cashing the check AND closing out the account (as though they won't find you-they did).

Maybe beecause it is only $200 and not $2000 or $20000 (which would have raised a flag there), I suspect the company can file a loss (say there is more than one $200 check sent to others) or attempt some collection. But over $200... not worth it. They already spent 20 minutes on the phone (labor) trying to get it back (if legit, time is money).

So: businesses should have some accountability for their mistake. Afterall, if they charge you for something and go out of business, there is no liability to you, only the creditors?
And: if you get a check and know there is an error, you are stealing. Just tear it up. Done. They will send you another if they meant it (usually).
e.g. I received a refund from ATT after 5 years...they over-charged my cell account $35. Filled up my gas tank. Woop.

This makes a great ethics course case...

You are going to donate to DSLReports some of that, right? Yeah...


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 edit
reply to John K
said by John K :

As I said, I don't care -what- philosophy you have, so long as you apply it consistently. By saying what you did, it's obvious that you're not interested in applying your -own philosophy- consistently, but feel free to change it according to whether you like someone or not.

Nope. My position doesn't change. What I am saying is not complicated: If a person believes it's ok to take money/property that doesn't belong to them, then they need a correction, and that would be they run into another person who has the same attitude they do, and takes their money, so that they learn a lesson and maybe rethink their position. If you think that hoping that justice occurs is somehow "being inconsistent" then more power to you, but you're over thinking it. My position is simple: Do what's right, but if you insist on not doing that, then I hope it comes back to bite you on the butt... in a nutshell.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 edit
reply to John K
Actually, the more I read your post, I think you're just trying to rationalize and justify your own position, and attack the people who don't agree with your position, while at the same time acting like you're morally superior and yet pragmatic.

A good honest crook? Since there isn't any, I can't say I've ever met one.

It's interesting you assume and label people as "goody two shoes" for being in the honest camp, while commenting they are probably crooked and dishonest... Kind of reflects back onto you more then anything. You're pretty much incorrect about everything you just posted, including your assumptions about me and your condescending remarks.

So let me just finish up by saying I hope you get everything you have coming to you. What you read into that is all up to you and your knowledge of your actions.

Have a nice day.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 edit
reply to r81984
said by r81984:

If someone mails a check to you with your name on it then you legally can keep the money.
No court will make you return it.
Unfortunately the law does not allow for take backs when you accidently write a check out to someone or give them cash.
No law would force you to return the money.

Actually, Federal Civil Code states you're entitled to get your money back, because the payment was a mistake. There's even a name for this type of Suit: "Complaint of Money paid by mistake."
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to r81984
There's a name for the Civil lawsuit. It's called a Complaint of money paid by mistake.

All you have to do is show the money paid was a mistake. Bingo. Judgement for the plaintiff.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


John K

@conquesthousing.com
reply to KrK
quote:
If you think that hoping that justice occurs is somehow "being inconsistent" then more power to you, but you're over thinking it.

My friend, the problem here (from my own vantage point) is that you're not thinking about this -enough-.

I've posted three times now on this because I _genuinely believe_ you don't understand how your position appears to other people. My friend, what you're professing -isn't- justice at all: that's been my point all along. I'm both frightened and appalled that you seem to genuinely believe that it is. You're -really- scaring me here.

quote:
My position is simple: Do what's right, but if you insist on not doing that, then I hope it comes back to bite you on the butt... in a nutshell.

I'm quite clear on what you've been saying, sir, and you couldn't have put it any plainer: not everyone deserves to get their wallet back should they lose it. Only -some- people do.

Well, if you're genuinely interested in justice, then, my friend, I'm sorry to tell you that what you're advocating is something else entirely. If you are genuinely interested in seeing justice prevail, either -everyone- should get their wallet back, or no one should. One of the cornerstones of justice is that it is -impartial-, and evenly applied.

I wish I could write something on this board that would help you to better understand why your position might be horrifying to some people, but I have to give up at this point, as I've already given it my best shot and it's obvious we're just talking past each other now.

I do want to make it clear that I don't think you're a bad guy, or anything like that at all. I just don't think you fully realize what you're saying, and the -implications- of what it means. But as I say, I'm going to have to leave it there, as I've already done my best to show you how it might appear to an onlooker. It's not a pretty picture.


John K

@conquesthousing.com
reply to KrK
quote:
If you think that hoping that justice occurs is somehow "being inconsistent" then more power to you, but you're over thinking it.

My friend, the problem here (from my own vantage point) is that you're not thinking about this -enough-.

I've posted three times now on this because I _genuinely believe_ you don't understand how your position appears to other people. My friend, what you're professing -isn't- justice at all: that's been my point all along. I'm both frightened and appalled that you seem to genuinely believe that it is. You're -really- scaring me here.

quote:
My position is simple: Do what's right, but if you insist on not doing that, then I hope it comes back to bite you on the butt... in a nutshell.

I'm quite clear on what you've been saying, sir, and you couldn't have put it any plainer: not everyone deserves to get their wallet back should they lose it. Only -some- people do.

Well, if you're genuinely interested in justice, then, my friend, I'm sorry to tell you that what you're advocating is something else entirely. If you are genuinely interested in seeing justice prevail, either -everyone- should get their wallet back, or no one should. One of the cornerstones of justice is that it is -impartial- and evenly applied.

I wish I could write something on this board that would help you to better understand why your position might be horrifying to some people, but I have to give up at this point, as I've already given it my best shot and it's obvious we're just talking past each other now.

I do want to make it clear that I don't think you're a bad guy, or anything like that at all. I just don't think you fully realize what you're saying, and the -implications- of what it means. But as I say, I'm going to have to leave it there, as I've already done my best to show you how it might appear to an onlooker. It's not a pretty picture.