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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Hi I applied and was successful being offered a job In April

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Hi I applied and was successful being offered a job In April 2013 but i did not start this job and informed them of this prior to day 1 of training. I have never received a payslip obviously but a letter came today stating Overpayment Of Salary Recovery if I do not reply in 2 weeks they will pass to their solicitors. I never started this job not even for 1 day and informed them.What are my rights please?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were you paid anything by them?


Yes I was paid i did not even know this until i checked my account online which I very rarely do and I had no payslips.


Sorry meant to say Hi Ben

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier. The starting point is that if you have been overpaid by your employer, then that is not money to which you are legally entitled and it should be repaid.

However, an employee may be able to use the defence of ‘estoppel’ to resist an employer's recovery of an overpayment on grounds of unfairness. For example, in the case of County Council of Avon v Howlett, a teacher was paid more sick pay than he was entitled to. The teacher queried the overpayments but was told they were correct. By the time the Council had realised their mistake, the teacher had spent most of that money. The Court of Appeal held that the defence of estoppel prevented the council from recovering the whole sum of the overpayment.

Case law has evolved somewhat since then, but it has become an acceptable principle that 'estoppel' can apply if the following conditions are met:
• The employee genuinely believed they were entitled to the money, or did not even realise that they were being overpaid
• The overpayments were made following an error on the employer's part
• The employee has since 'changed their position', meaning they have spent the money in question

So whilst the employer is justified in pursuing the money at this stage, there are ways of defending such a claim. However, that will only potentially be possible if the above conditions are made and if the employee was aware they were being overpaid and did nothing to rectify that, then it is unlikely there will be a defence. It will not prevent the employer from pursuing this all the way to court and you can only use the above defence if you persuade the court that it applies in this situation.

I hope this has answered your query for now and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
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