Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Good grief!

So a buddy of mine has a very peculiar problem.

The company he worked at for years terminated him this summer.

But every two weeks, as regular as clockwork, his paycheck arrives in the mail. That's right: every 14 days, they send him a check. Just as if he was still in the plant. Doin' his job. But he ain't. They know that.

"How much money are we talkin' about?" I ask.

"Would you believe 10 grand so far?" he laffs.

He puts each newly-issued payroll cheque in a desk drawer.

"I want to see how long it takes them to discover they've screwed up," he claims. "They'll go bananas! Heads will roll!"

"Is it a computer sending you payroll cheques?"

"No!" he sez. "Each cheque has been hand-prepared. Each one has TWO original signatures of company pay execs! It's totally nuts!"

"Cash them all!" I urge. "Let them try to get the money back!"

He just laughs.

"I always figured the execs never knew what I did when I was there," he sez. "It's no surprise nobody's noticed I'm gone. But, duh! What does that say about me, Dunf? I'm kinda insulted. Still, it's such a hoot. I can't wait to see how it turns out."

"You could call your old company," I laugh. "Beg them to stop."

"To hell with that," sez bud. "I don't work there any more. Why is that my responsibility? To solve their screw-ups? Beg them to stop sending me money? Who fired who? Let it ride, baby! Let it build til it blows!"

So if you were my buddy, would you...

(a) call the company to helpfully point out they're idiots

(b) cash all the cheques immediately

(c) ask your buddy to put it on his blog and solicit advice?

He's chosen C. What would you do?


Intcord said... this happened at least 5 years ago and I haven't stayed in the loop so I hope by now nobody reads this and kills some poor SOB's lottery. I worked for a publicly traded company in the early 2000's. They moved a portion of their operation from one US state to the city of Pittsburgh. During the course of that move, one person who I had interaction with, was not offered a move to Pittsburgh, but continued to receive his pay in his bank account anyway. This in spite of the fact that the company had already paid him is redundancy pay-out. The last time I know for sure, this guy was still getting his pay deposited into his account every two weeks like clockwork. He was not about to say anything. I've since lost contact with him and I'm not sure if the company ever managed to "ketchup" with him. Moral of the story.....this stuff happens. Keep cashing the cheques (and moving them to another bank account so they can't get the courts to seize them). Sooner or later they will find out and it will likely not be worth the hassle to them to take legal ation to get them back.

Torontosrose said...

Personally, when it comes to jobs/careers I am one of those "honest people" so i would pick A! If my cash is short at the end of my shift be even 5 cents i will go into my tips (work in a bar) and pay it back.
But, my fiancee says to go with "B" for if the company is too dumb to realize they are paying someone that doesn't do anything (no offence, I am sure your friend worked very hard during the time he worked in the company and probably deserves the extra pay!) he should take it!

Tom Williams said...

Personally, I think he should send the cheques to you Dunf, You can endorse them and send half the money to me

michael said...

I would invest it in a savings account. Make some money off their money. When they ask for the money back, pay them what was issued. I would of course photocopy each cheque first.

Can you say free money? Over a month, with enough saved in the savings account, you might have enough for a lunch at Tim Horton's. Who said there was no such as a free lunch?

John Cosway said...

I'd pick (D) - keep throwing the payroll cheques in a drawer to see how many the company can send before detecting the error. Any attempt to cash or deposit the cheques would prove intent to defraud. But let Dunf know the final cheque count for another blog on corporate mismanagement.

Dunf-Fan said...


The same thing happened to me years ago.

The story in a nutshell....

There were cutbacks at work and I was let go. I was offered a severance package and I promptly took the offer to my lawyer. He wrote a letter to my ex-company telling them we felt the severance package was inadequate based on a number of factors. He based his position on the condition of the economy at the time as well as number of other factors, so he responded that six months was a more appropriate offer and one that we would accept. My ex-company never responded to his letter. As the letters went back and forth between the parties which took a number of weeks, pay cheques starting arriving in my mailbox. Which was funny, given they had never been mailed previously. So I asked my lawyer what I should do and he said CASH 'EM! So I did. And they sent them for six months or so. Finally one day they caught on and told me that they expected me to return the money. They first approached me and I told them they could pursue the matter through my lawyer. He told them that if they wanted the money back they would have to sue us as we had no intention of returning it. He also let them know that if they decided to file against us, we would promptly counter sue for wrongful dismissal. He took the position that given the fact they had not responded to our counter offer, we had therefore assumed they had decided to accept it and therefore mailed the cheques which I cashed. We never heard from them again. They're now out of business. :D

MouseMeat said...

I'm with michael on this.

Start an ING account, but quick. The first cheque will be stale-dated at 6 month.