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[icon] Bank error in your favor -- collect $200 - Patti
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Subject:Bank error in your favor -- collect $200
Time:11:21 am
A business entity has made a financial error in your favor. The error is not tiny, but it is not so large that it will cause pain to the entity. At what point have you fulfilled your obligation to try to remedy the situation?

How many legitimate attempts would you make to fix the error?

None. It's not your mistake.
2(5.6%)
I'd tell them once.
20(55.6%)
I'd tell them twice.
8(22.2%)
I'd tell them three times.
5(13.9%)
I'd nag them until it was resolved.
1(2.8%)

Would you make an extra effort if the size of the error was over:

$10
1(2.8%)
$100
7(19.4%)
$1000
11(30.6%)
$10000
3(8.3%)
The size of the error does not matter.
14(38.9%)

Would you make an extra effort if the entity was:

An individual
26(21.0%)
A small business
25(20.2%)
A medium-sized business
5(4.0%)
A large business
0(0.0%)
Your employer
18(14.5%)
A government entity
7(5.6%)
Someone that you regularly do business with
25(20.2%)
There's some other mitigating circumstance
18(14.5%)
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omahas
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-29 07:11 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't feel a need to make an extra effort regardless of the type of entity either. An error is an error.

Also, I might try to contact them a second time if I had a reason to believe that the first contact was not received (e.g. I sent an email and received no acknowledgment that the email was received and nothing was done).
(Reply) (Thread)

Mark Rafn [dagon.net]
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-29 07:57 pm (UTC)
Regardless of who or how much, I don't feel any moral duty beyond telling them once or twice.

I do recognize that it may be practical to go beyond my moral duty for for some types of relationship (employer, government). If there's a question of whether they're going to come after you for it sometime in the future, then making the notification in writing with proof of delivery seems justified. Or perhaps even just returning the money more forcefully (mail a check and let them figure out how to apply it).
(Reply) (Thread)


jpmassar
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-29 09:18 pm (UTC)
I've had business entities make errors in my favor for thousands of dollars and never had the slightest qualms about not attempting to give it back.

For a certain value of 'business entity' which you, if not most readers here, can surely identify.
(Reply) (Thread)


dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-29 09:26 pm (UTC)
In addition to my own ethical standards, there's the issue that a big error is likely to be found, and they may well be in a position to recover it later. If the amount is big enough to really matter to me, losing it later could be disastrous.

I knew somebody who said he noticed, over a few months, that errors in the change he was given by cashiers averaged in his favor. On that basis, he made a decision to stop counting his change -- by his own standards, if he found an error (either direction) he was required to fix it; but apparently he was allowed to stop checking because the errors were in his favor. Then he wouldn't know, and wouldn't have to fix it. This is so totally foreign to how I do things!
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(Deleted comment)

wild_irises
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-30 04:24 pm (UTC)
I was looking at that w/r/t whipartist's choice of "your employer" as a reason to make extra efforts.

When I was working at Tor, one of our authors got a check in the low five figures that they couldn't understand. They called bam, who couldn't figure it out either. So bam called the Royalty Department. The person in Royalties said it was a mistake. bam said, "The author will pay it back." The person in Royalties said, "Oh, do they have to? It's so much paperwork!"

bam called the author and said, "Listen. Put it in a savings account. Don't touch it for a year. If they don't figure it out in a year, it's yours to spend."

I think this is right. If I get enough free money that it would be a problem to pay it back, I put it away for a year. But one try to be honest is all (almost) anyone gets from me, even a supermarket clerk who will have to pay it out of their pocket.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-30 06:42 pm (UTC)
It's worse, of course, to be seen (by them) as having behaved unethically towards your employer, since even if it doesn't rise to anything they can make a criminal complaint about, they can still fire you. That's a prudential not an ethical consideration, though.

The combination of making one clear attempt to fix it on the record, plus waiting a year to spend it, does seem to me to cover a lot of the practical risks.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


evwhore
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-29 09:55 pm (UTC)
Mostly in agreement with the other comments.

Also this:

http://evwhore.livejournal.com/769967.html
(Reply) (Thread)

x_mass
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-30 08:07 am (UTC)
I was thinking of big business and governments when I gave my answer who will happily charge you money if you make an error and if they make an error they will also charge you

the larger the organisation, the more less personal contact their is between people, the more willing people are to let others suffer. This is an observable relationship in humans. Which ironically is why call centres work as they humanise the corporation, the problem is call the call centre staff have to work within criteria set by people who have dehumanised its customer base and thus doing 'evil' becomes palatable
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[icon] Bank error in your favor -- collect $200 - Patti
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