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Received Check In Error, What Should I Do?

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Money Talk > Personal Finance

Morally speaking, should I give the money back?
 72%  [ 16 ]
 22%  [ 5 ]
Morally, no, but legally, yes.
 4%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 22

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Received Check In Error, What Should I Do?  Reply with quote  

Months ago, I put a deposit down with my realtor on a house I was going to buy. I felt during the sale that the realtor had rushed me in to the sale because the seller was paying a high commission to the buyer's realtor. My realtor advised me to purchase for the asking price despite that many friends thought it was too much, and moreover, my realtor told me I should act quickly without, sidelining the importance of a home-inspection. I didn't even have solid financing when the sale was to go through. I eventually backed out of the deal just before it was too late. My check sat with them for a time and, at my request, was shredded when the deal went south. Apparently, the accounting department didn't realize that my check hadn't been cashed, and they issued me a check for the deposit amount, which I cashed, assuming that they had in fact deposited my check.

I have been advised in numerous ways, both to give the money back, as the realtor now requests, and to keep it because of the way they tried to take advantage of me. I would like to know what I am legally required to do, as I have yet to sort out for myself what is the moral decision.

I just need to know.. if someone writes you a check accidentally, do you need to give it back? What can they legally do to get it back?
Post Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:01 pm
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You and the realtor have both acknowledged the check was issued in error. The realtor has asked for the money to be returned. Since you both know it was a mistake, I believe you have an ethical and moral obligation to return it. However, I don't believe that you have a legal obligation to return it. They would have to sue you to get it back if you choose not to return it.

In any case, don't make the mistake of relating this check to any lack of performance by the realtor. They're two separate issues.

I don't know what the amount is, but seeing as you weren't happy with their service, perhaps you and they can come to some agreement allowing you to keep some of the money as a good faith compensation.

Post Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:31 pm
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You didn't make them shread the check.

Those of us who actually worry about morals handycap ourselves.

Once again you didn't make them shread the check?

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Post Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:41 pm
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Whenevery I've written a check and it was cashed that was it. Gone. Most of the time it's more of a hassle to worry about getting it back. Unless it was a big amount then the hassle is worth it. So I guess it's up to the realtor of how much of a hassle it would be for them. But yeah I'd keep it. I wouldn't spend it just hold on to it and see where it this thing goes. If it was a lot then yeah I'd feel guilty and I'd give it back but again I'd hold on to it awhile. Make him sweat.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:40 am
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Right  Reply with quote  

It is immaterial as to how you "feel" they treated you. You were happy enough to work with them to get the house, and now I think you are only trying to justify your immoral actions by saying "it serves them right."

Maybe they are sleaze bags, as you say. So are the majority of realtors, especially in a high pressure market. I daresay that in househunting, the consumer is at least as bloodthirsty as the realtors trying to make the sale. If they are sleaze bags, wouldn't it be better to give them their money back and thereby sever all connection with them? If you have taken money from sleaze bags, don't you think they will cause you enough trouble to make it come back to haunt you? They will just take you to small claims court, and you'll end up having to waste days of work and pay court fees besides.

Besides, you are clearly wrong. They did not cash the check. You have stolen their money. You don't get compensated hundreds of dollars for how you "feel".

If you won't give the money back just because it's the right thing to do, at least give it back to reduce your future annoyance. The word will get around to other realtors that you are dishonest to work with.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:13 am
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The money isn't yours. How is this even a question? Would you walk into a store and steal the money from their cash register? If you had a fight with a friend would you walk into their house and steal their TV because you didn't like their actions? It's the same thing and if you tell yourself it's not, you're lying.

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Post Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:00 am
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I feel you should give it back  Reply with quote  

I would give the money back. I understand what you are saying but I think you should give it back. Sometimes money can brings lots of problems if you misuse it. If you don't give it back you may face lots of problems and regrets which is not worth it.
Post Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:49 am
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I might cash the admin fees.
Post Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:13 am
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