Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: CakeBeret on December 26, 2012, 09:43:17 AM

Title: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: CakeBeret on December 26, 2012, 09:43:17 AM
I handle the finances at my company. Our company name is unfortunately really common. Think Smith Inc.

A month or so ago I got a call from a business we've dealt with several times in the past, saying that they had written a check for Smith Corp and accidentally mailed it to us, Smith Inc.

I checked our records and we showed absolutely no signs of having ever received the check. I called back their accounts contact, Hanna, and told her that. She was distressed and seemed to think that we must have received it. I asked her to fax over the back of the check to me, and if it really was deposited to our account, it would be indicated on the check. I received the fax from Hanna and sure enough, it was not deposited to our account. I told Hanna this, and thought the matter was over.

Next I got a call from Hanna, wanting me to sign and notarize a form saying that we had neither received nor deposited the check. It was a mild inconvenience since I had to go find a notary, but not a big deal. I did it and sent it in. I didn't hear back and thought that the matter (or my involvement, anyway) was over.

Today I got another call from Hanna. She launched into a complicated story about what was going on with Smith Corp, apparently the funds had been taken from someone's bank account, and Hanna wanted to know if the funds had been deposited to my account. Uh, no, there's no way that some random check that I've never seen before was somehow deposited in my account after being yanked from someone else's account. I'm honestly not even sure what the full story is, since I couldn't follow Hanna's account of it and it doesn't concern me anyway.

So I politely told Hanna that I did not have the funds, and I hoped she got it straightened out. Hanna seemed a bit deflated that I didn't offer to do anything to help, but this is SO not a problem on my end.

Etiquette wise, do I have any further responsibility to help out?
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: NyaChan on December 26, 2012, 09:50:58 AM
I think you've more than carried out what you could reasonably be expected to do out of courtesy for a business connection.  They made the mistake - I think Hanna is probably feeling the heat from her bosses to "fix" the situation or someone is trying to cover up a loss in funds.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 26, 2012, 10:04:21 AM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this. 
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: doodlemor on December 26, 2012, 11:24:22 AM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this.

POD

She needs to do this immediately, in case there is some sort of malfeasance involved.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: CakeBeret on December 26, 2012, 11:28:37 AM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this. 

She knows that she needs to contact the bank, but for whatever reason decided to call me first.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Carotte on December 26, 2012, 11:34:36 AM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this.

That's exactly what I was thinking, if money went from your account to somewhere else, surely the bank will tell you where, when, how much and I guess in the case of a company, who authorized it.

I don't think there's anything you can do OP, next time she calls I guess it's your job to once again verify that your company is not involved in all of this, and then tell her that you are sorry but you will have to hang up, go back to urgent file N3.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: ------ on December 26, 2012, 11:36:01 AM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this.



This. And, I'm going to need to second what NyaChan said as well. I think something fishy is going on in the other company. In any case, OP, I think you've been more than helpful and I can't imagine what you could possibly do next, other than cut them a check for their "overpayment." Which, methinks is not going to happen....but which I imagine Hanna is rather hoping you'll offer to do....

I'd step away and wish her good luck - there's nothing more you can do.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Minmom3 on December 26, 2012, 01:55:52 PM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this.



This. And, I'm going to need to second what NyaChan said as well. I think something fishy is going on in the other company. In any case, OP, I think you've been more than helpful and I can't imagine what you could possibly do next, other than cut them a check for their "overpayment." Which, methinks is not going to happen....but which I imagine Hanna is rather hoping you'll offer to do....

I'd step away and wish her good luck - there's nothing more you can do.


Wait, WHY?!  Didn't the back of the check, which Hanna HAS in her possession, and faxed to OP,  indicate that the check was NOT deposited into OP's company coffers?  Why would OP's company cut a check for services never ordered or received????  Why would Hanna, however silly and over her head she may be, think that would ever happen?  OP's company isn't involved in this mess outside of Hanna's phone calls to OP, right?  Am I misunderstanding something here?  I am SO confused by this! 
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on December 26, 2012, 02:09:57 PM
This. And, I'm going to need to second what NyaChan said as well. I think something fishy is going on in the other company. In any case, OP, I think you've been more than helpful and I can't imagine what you could possibly do next, other than cut them a check for their "overpayment." Which, methinks is not going to happen....but which I imagine Hanna is rather hoping you'll offer to do....

I'd step away and wish her good luck - there's nothing more you can do.

Wait, WHY?!  Didn't the back of the check, which Hanna HAS in her possession, and faxed to OP,  indicate that the check was NOT deposited into OP's company coffers?  Why would OP's company cut a check for services never ordered or received????  Why would Hanna, however silly and over her head she may be, think that would ever happen?  OP's company isn't involved in this mess outside of Hanna's phone calls to OP, right?  Am I misunderstanding something here?  I am SO confused by this!
I think mrkitty was not suggesting that this is the correct response, only that Hanna may be hoping that she can annoy you into feeling sorry for her enough to make you write a check you have no other reason to write.

Wow! That last sentence should confuse everyone.  >:D
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 26, 2012, 02:45:41 PM
In some sense, I think Hanna is trying to use you as a crutch because she doesn't have a clue.  If she does try to contact you again, I would gently but firmly say that you are unable to help her.  If she persists, you might need to contact her manager, because this is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 26, 2012, 03:02:41 PM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this. 

She knows that she needs to contact the bank, but for whatever reason decided to call me first.

Someone working with accounts should know to call the bank first, not you.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: ------ on December 26, 2012, 03:42:23 PM
Hanna doesn't need to be working in the accounts department if she can't figure out that she needs to contact the bank about this.



This. And, I'm going to need to second what NyaChan said as well. I think something fishy is going on in the other company. In any case, OP, I think you've been more than helpful and I can't imagine what you could possibly do next, other than cut them a check for their "overpayment." Which, methinks is not going to happen....but which I imagine Hanna is rather hoping you'll offer to do....

I'd step away and wish her good luck - there's nothing more you can do.


Minmom3,  :) Tee-hee...I was just attempting, in my exclusive mrkittytm (patent pending) less-than-articulate way to make a point about Hanna's ridiculous harping on the issue with regard to helping her "resolve" the "mistake." I was simply pointing out that she might be trying to confuse or annoy CakeBeret into sending her a check...which is NOT going to happen....

My DH works in accounts receivables, and he told me about a couple of Hannas he's dealt with in his career...and, trust me, the thing to do would NOT be to further assist Hanna in her odyssey...Hanna just needs to call the bank and stop bothering CakeBeret, lest CakeBeret become annoyed and escalate the issue to Hanna's supervisor....just sayin'.  ;)

I suspect Hanna knows exactly where the missing money is. If I were Hanna, I'd drop it and start looking for a new job. And maybe get a lawyer.  ;)
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: oogyda on December 28, 2012, 03:24:02 PM
Okay....the information on the back of the check should indicate what account it was deposited into.  And the bank the account is at. 

I think *if* you offer Hanna that information, any obligation you have is over.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on December 28, 2012, 03:45:49 PM
If Hanna calls you back, I used to work in banking in the research department.

Hanna needs to call her bank and have the check researched.  Where did the check come in from?  What bank? What bank and/or account was it credited to?

She needs to research this on her end and stop bugging you for which you cannot help her in the first place.

Someone got this check. Someone deposited it.  Her bank can research it and find out as much as possible on their end and she might still need to pursue it further.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: oceanus on December 28, 2012, 05:25:36 PM
OP, you've done all you can reasonably be expected to do.

However, (if you haven't already) I think you should make a note of what has happened thus far, and inform your supoervisor in person or via email.

Ya never know; could be something shady going on - not with Hanna but ..........well, ya never know.  :-\

Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: mmswm on December 28, 2012, 06:00:42 PM
If Hanna calls you back, I used to work in banking in the research department.

Hanna needs to call her bank and have the check researched.  Where did the check come in from?  What bank? What bank and/or account was it credited to?

She needs to research this on her end and stop bugging you for which you cannot help her in the first place.

Someone got this check. Someone deposited it.  Her bank can research it and find out as much as possible on their end and she might still need to pursue it further.

I second this.  I worked in deposit operations research doing exactly this.  We can track down every move that check made, what banks it went through and where it ended up. 
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Winterlight on December 28, 2012, 06:54:12 PM
OP, you've done all you can reasonably be expected to do.

However, (if you haven't already) I think you should make a note of what has happened thus far, and inform your supoervisor in person or via email.

Ya never know; could be something shady going on - not with Hanna but ..........well, ya never know.  :-\

Agreed. This is a cover yourself moment.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: CakeBeret on December 28, 2012, 09:09:29 PM
If Hanna calls you back, I used to work in banking in the research department.

Hanna needs to call her bank and have the check researched.  Where did the check come in from?  What bank? What bank and/or account was it credited to?

She needs to research this on her end and stop bugging you for which you cannot help her in the first place.

Someone got this check. Someone deposited it.  Her bank can research it and find out as much as possible on their end and she might still need to pursue it further.

She has already done this. According to the last call I got from her, the check had been deposited into Some Account, and Hanna thinks that the some involved bank took the funds from Some Account and somehow put them into my account. Which, within the scope of my banking knowledge, is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: ------ on December 28, 2012, 09:15:20 PM
I am deeply confused as to how any of this could remotely be possible...did the bank tell her this? Or is she guessing at that last part? I hope she has some evidence of this before she starts making slanderous accusations against you/your company??(!)

I'm thinking now (or sometime very soon, if this continues) might be a good time to escalate the harassment to Hanna's supervisor....I think she's either a) incompetent or b) trying to pin her mistake on you or c) trying to cover up something.

This is starting to really not smell good.  >:(
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: AustenFan on December 28, 2012, 09:17:35 PM
Hanna sounds like she's a few digits short an account number, if you know what I mean.  >:D

The bank would have been able to advise her whose account the cheque was cashed to, and the steps needed to recover the funds if the cheque was improperly cashed. It's not a complicated process, and at this point she shouldn't be involving you further. If I were you I would just advise her that you have no record of receiving it and she will need to follow up with the bank. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Banks make mistakes (I have had entire deposits lost before, and $16,000 incorrectly deposited to my account), but they're always traceable and easily remedied if it was an internal error.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: kareng57 on December 28, 2012, 09:28:51 PM
I agree with PPs - I used to work in the Finance department of my company.  Yes, occasionally we had situations where customers wrote cheques on a since-closed bank account, or had confused us with a similarly-named company.  These were fairly easy to resolve.

However, there was never any way to "prove" that we never received a missing cheque, and lots of customers just didn't seem to understand this.  At that stage is was truly out of our hands, and many just didn't seem to get the concept of "you need to check with your bank about this".
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: mmswm on December 29, 2012, 09:08:54 AM
If Hanna calls you back, I used to work in banking in the research department.

Hanna needs to call her bank and have the check researched.  Where did the check come in from?  What bank? What bank and/or account was it credited to?

She needs to research this on her end and stop bugging you for which you cannot help her in the first place.

Someone got this check. Someone deposited it.  Her bank can research it and find out as much as possible on their end and she might still need to pursue it further.

She has already done this. According to the last call I got from her, the check had been deposited into Some Account, and Hanna thinks that the some involved bank took the funds from Some Account and somehow put them into my account. Which, within the scope of my banking knowledge, is ridiculous.

Well......

You'd be surprised how badly things can get screwed up at the bank level.  I could tell you some doozies if my sense of ethics allowed it (somehow, telling stories that may, or may not, be identifiable by a banking customer just seems wrong, and I'd rather err on the side of caution).  It is possible for things to happen the way she's trying to describe, as I've seen something similar happen, but extremely unlikely. I've seen something like that happen once after years of deposit operations research involving millions of transactions.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Lynnv on December 29, 2012, 10:20:53 AM
She has already done this. According to the last call I got from her, the check had been deposited into Some Account, and Hanna thinks that the some involved bank took the funds from Some Account and somehow put them into my account. Which, within the scope of my banking knowledge, is ridiculous.

Well......

You'd be surprised how badly things can get screwed up at the bank level.  I could tell you some doozies if my sense of ethics allowed it (somehow, telling stories that may, or may not, be identifiable by a banking customer just seems wrong, and I'd rather err on the side of caution).  It is possible for things to happen the way she's trying to describe, as I've seen something similar happen, but extremely unlikely. I've seen something like that happen once after years of deposit operations research involving millions of transactions.

I agree.  I have seen something like this happen twice.  In 10 years of banking customer service.  And the circumstances in each case were so out of the norm that replicating the problem would take both time and effort.   But even if, in some wild series of errors and wackiness, you determine that this is what happened, she still needs to go through the bank to fix it.

I had a customer once who had written a check to a car dealer for $500.00 for a deposit on a car.  The dealers bank misencoded it for $50.00.   He noticed it and wrote the dealer a check for $450.00 to make up the difference.   Meanwhile, the bank noticed the out of balance situation, determined the problem, and sent through an error correction to fix the problem.   The guy had a huge problem getting his money back.  So, even if by some wild chance she is right (unlikely though that may be), she needs to deal with the bank to fix it.   
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: oceanus on December 29, 2012, 11:28:54 AM
She has already done this. According to the last call I got from her, the check had been deposited into Some Account, and Hanna thinks that the some involved bank took the funds from Some Account and somehow put them into my account. Which, within the scope of my banking knowledge, is ridiculous.

Well......

You'd be surprised how badly things can get screwed up at the bank level.  I could tell you some doozies if my sense of ethics allowed it (somehow, telling stories that may, or may not, be identifiable by a banking customer just seems wrong, and I'd rather err on the side of caution).  It is possible for things to happen the way she's trying to describe, as I've seen something similar happen, but extremely unlikely. I've seen something like that happen once after years of deposit operations research involving millions of transactions.

I agree.  I have seen something like this happen twice.  In 10 years of banking customer service.  And the circumstances in each case were so out of the norm that replicating the problem would take both time and effort.   But even if, in some wild series of errors and wackiness, you determine that this is what happened, she still needs to go through the bank to fix it.

I had a customer once who had written a check to a car dealer for $500.00 for a deposit on a car.  The dealers bank misencoded it for $50.00.   He noticed it and wrote the dealer a check for $450.00 to make up the difference.   Meanwhile, the bank noticed the out of balance situation, determined the problem, and sent through an error correction to fix the problem.   The guy had a huge problem getting his money back.  So, even if by some wild chance she is right (unlikely though that may be), she needs to deal with the bank to fix it.

I don't think most people would necessarily be all that surprised that banks make mistakes.  I'm sure lots of people have stories about how a bank messed something up and what a hassle it was to get it straightened out.  The issue is that Hanna keeps bothering OP with the problem, and she needs to deal with the bank (as you said).
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 29, 2012, 07:38:53 PM
I think that you're in the clear.  Unless Hanna is the top of the accounting food chain, you might want to suggest that she get help from someone with more experience, if you want to be nice.  Other than that, what else can you do?
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: oceanus on December 29, 2012, 09:18:25 PM
I think that you're in the clear.  Unless Hanna is the top of the accounting food chain, you might want to suggest that she get help from someone with more experience, if you want to be nice.  Other than that, what else can you do?

I don't think OP lacks the proper experience.

Better to just refer Hanna to the bank.

Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: gramma dishes on December 29, 2012, 09:25:39 PM
I think that you're in the clear.  Unless Hanna is the top of the accounting food chain, you might want to suggest that she get help from someone with more experience, if you want to be nice.  Other than that, what else can you do?

I don't think OP lacks the proper experience.

Better to just refer Hanna to the bank.

I'm pretty sure that JeanFromBNA meant that Hanna should get advice from someone with more experience within her own company. 
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 29, 2012, 09:42:03 PM
I can sympathize with her, especially if she's getting the runaround from one (or more) banks.  Somehow it always seems easy for companies to drag their feet and be unhelpful when it's YOUR money which is messed up, but when it's THEIR money they find the time to call you over and over again . . .

That said, it's her problem, not yours.  You've done a good thing in trying to check your accounts, but your verbal "We don't have it" is all she really deserves towards solving her problem.  Don't let her dump her issues on you.
Title: Re: Helping someone else unravel their mistake?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 30, 2012, 11:19:30 AM
I think that you're in the clear.  Unless Hanna is the top of the accounting food chain, you might want to suggest that she get help from someone with more experience, if you want to be nice.  Other than that, what else can you do?

I don't think OP lacks the proper experience.

Better to just refer Hanna to the bank.

I'm pretty sure that JeanFromBNA meant that Hanna should get advice from someone with more experience within her own company. 

Yes.