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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 75915
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I ended a job with my previous company approx. four months

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Hello,I ended a job with my previous company approx. four months ago. I contacted them on several occasions to return my company laptop, however on each occasion no courier was sent to collect my laptop.Yesterday I received an email from IT apologising for the delay in getting back to me, asking me to provide them with details of my home address so they can send a courier to collect the laptop.The problem is - I no longer have the laptop. My dad wiped the hard-drive, reinstalled Windows and sold the laptop a few weeks ago when I thought it was becoming clear the company was not going to collect the laptop.What do I do now? Should I be truthful with the company about the fact the laptop is sold? Will I face criminal prosecution for this? Can I offer to pay a fee for the laptop?Thanks.
Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Can I just check how long you worked for this employer?

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
I worked for my previous employer for 8 weeks (it was a summer internship)
OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please leave it with me for now and I will get back to you with my full reply on here, usually the same day. The system will notify you when this happens. Many thanks
Customer: replied 1 day ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to
continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about
this situation and any associated issues.

Legally, you should not have disposed of the laptop and
whilst I appreciate that they did not collect it as promised, you should have
given them formal notice of your intention to dispose of it and given them a
deadline within which to do something about it, to avoid its disposal.

If you simply went ahead with selling it without formally
warning them about your intentions, you would have unlawfully disposed of it and
will be liable to the employer.

At this stage, the best way forward is to be truthful about
what happened and offer to reimburse them for the value of the laptop. I’d be
hopeful this does not involve the police as it would be most beneficial to both
parties for you to simply get a replacement laptop, or to reimburse them for getting
a replacement.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Thanks for replying. I read online that if the company were to chase me for the laptop, their two options would be to take me to civil court or to involve the police.If this were to go to a civil court, would I be liable for the full value of the laptop plus their legal fees? The laptop is quite old, but would I have to pay the original RRP or the market value in today's market? And say the laptop is worth £500, how much would I be made to pay including legal fees if I were taken to civil court?If they were to involve the police, would this be something the police spend resources pursuing? If so, what penalties would I be looking at if I was to be prosecuted?I'm hopeful the situation can be resolved without either going to civil court or involving the police, but I would appreciate your comments on the above. Thanks.

Hi there, thank you for your further queries, which I will
be happy to answer. Even though they can report this to the police, I doubt they
will get involved as they will most likely see this as a civil matter, which to
be honest it is.

So they will have to go through the civil route to try and
recover compensation for it and it will only be necessary if you refuse to
reimburse them.

If that happens, then you will only have to reimburse them
for the current value of the laptop, not the original one – it is a
like-for-like replacement, not new-for-old one.

You won’t have to pay their legal fees as each side pays
their own in the Small Claims Court. You will have to pay their court fees
which will be in the region of  £110 – 160.

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Thanks for clarifying, I appreciate it. Last question (and maybe a daft one), but would going to a small claims court have any ramifications on me other the cost of reimbursing the laptop and fees, such as a criminal record, requirement to notify my current employer etc.?
No, not at all as long as you pay what you are ordered to by the court within 30 days
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Thanks for your help.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions
about this, please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be happy to
help. All the best

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