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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 778
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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Hi, I was wondering if someone would be able to provide

Customer Question

Hi,
I was wondering if someone would be able to provide me some legal advice.
My previous company I used to work for before leaving decided to reward me with an Apple iPad Air I was told it was because of recognition and dedication of my hard work.
I now have the Human Resource department chasing me a threatening legal pursuit to get the iPad back or make me pay £300, they claim it is a company asset however it did not follow their process as i was told it was a gift.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Customer:

Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

Customer:

Who was it said that you could keep it and is there a record of it in writing?

JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : Hi,
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : It was my line manager that said it and not there wasn't any written information for it
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : normally in that company it would follow a procedure where it gets listed within an asset registry but this item didn't follow that process
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : However, since then my line manager left the company and they are now claiming it's their property
Customer:

OK I am not sure this is entirely straightforward. If your line manger didn't follow the right procedure it is easy to see why theu want it back. Did the line manager have authority to gift you the ipad?

JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : Yes they knew and it was authorised, it wasn't even on my inventory list of things to give back when I left the company.
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : They say say it was because I was mislead but I feel this is extremely unfair
Customer:

If he had the authority to give it to you an gave it to you then yo are able to keep it in law. However if it comes to a dispute it might be hard to prove. The leaving inventory would be a document that might support your case. If they say were misled by the line manager that is not your problem. Indeed by saying that they may well be admitting that it was given to you by your superior at work. If they have accepted in writing that your line manager did give it to you then you might want to suggest that their real dispute is with the line manager not you and you are entitled to accept a gift given by someone who as far as you were aware was able to make such a gift..

Customer:

It really depends on what you want. You have a defendable position here and they might not really go to court to get it back if you called their bluff and even if they did you have a defence which might well work. However, is there any chance you may need a reference from this company in the future? If so you might have pragmatic reasons for giving it back.

JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : Going to court over an iPad just seen a bit pathetic, wouldn't really want it going there but at the same time I don't see why I should give up or buy something I was told was a gift. I don't want to be penalised for something I haven't done
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : as for references I already have them and moved into my new company
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : just to add a little background to the situation the iPad was given roughly a good 6 months before I left that company nothing was ever said until I had gone
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : now if they knew I had it why did they not follow their policy, register the item in the assets database and put a corporate build on it restricting what I can and can't do on it
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : all they have is an invoice to say they bought the iPad, what would that prove?
Customer:

The invoice wouldn't prove anything in this case.

JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : What would you recommend is the best way forward? Should I write a formal letter to the HR department stating that it was given to me as a gift?
JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : Also, if they do go down the legal route what would that consist of? What can they do?
Customer:

You could do that and call their bluff. If they do go to court it would be in the small claims court and they would not be able to get any legal costs paid by you. They could also not get an order for return of the ipad only money to compensate them for the loss. It may be that they don't go to court but you could always wait and see and if they do then return the ipad to them to avoid having to contest a court case and run the risk of an adverse finding.

JACUSTOMER-s6fp2ey6- : If they aren't bluffing and my previous manager mislead information to me, should I give it back? I don't really feel I should pay £300 for something I was told I can keep
Customer:

It depends you have a defence but if calling their bluff doesn't work yo will need to decide whether it is worth fighting and yes returning the ipad would be a way of settling this case.

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