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I worked for a company who recently has sent me bills in the mail to repay them for tuition reimbursements and relocation stipends. Which is fine, however, I tried to communicate with them through email multiple times over about 4 months and they have yet to respond to any of my communications.

Has anyone dealt with something like this before? How do I approach this without my bills being sent to collections? Or is there a chance I can do something to get out of paying them since they have been negligent in communications?

I want to keep everything in email so there is a paper trail and I absolutely refuse to call them for this reason. I have messaged multiple different emails as well and gotten replies from some but not the actual repayment email, which other people have referred me to multiple times.

EDIT:

I'm sorry for some I was too vague in my answer. I didn't disclose more information not because I want to do some shady stuff, but because I already know what's going on and forgot more information would help outside people understand.

So, to start, I'm not contesting the amount owed. I owe them the amount they are requesting and have the money to pay them back. I have emailed 3 separate accounts once a month for the last 4 months asking them where can I send the money. They told me over the phone originally that I could send in an electronic payment and that a financial rep from the company would reach back out to me. Again, that was 4 months ago. I'm just looking for any help in this situation, the last time I called them (about 2 months ago) asking if they had received my communications, they said they did but it didn't matter because my debt had been sent to collections. Fast forward another month and I get a cryptic email back from their HR services saying that my debt had not been sent to collections.

I feel like I'm getting the run-around and I honestly just want to pay them back. My only thought would be if they continue to neglect my communication, is there any legal action I can take against them? Like I tried to pay them back within a reasonable effort?

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    Does your past contract indicate anything about you having to repay them for such things? If not, I'd say you don't have to pay them anything
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:53
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    If you are in a western country, send them a good old fashioned paper letter. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:54
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    To have a paper trail then send paper otherwise you have a chain of emails.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:58
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    What are you trying to email them about? Are you contesting the amount owed? Can you clarify why you haven’t mailed in the payment?
    – BSMP
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 19:23
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    The way this question is written is contradictory or vague - Are you fine with paying back the Money, but need some clarification or want to setup an arrangement or are you merely trying to get out of paying them? Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:14

9 Answers 9

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Call HR main phone number or accounting department main number, and explain your situation, then hopefully, they will show you the contact info you need.

One possibility is that the person, who initially contacted you, suddenly quit or was laid off, and did not enough time to properly transfer your file to the next worker, who replaced him.

Then, perhaps, the new worker, who takes over this job, is very new to the job, and somehow, does not properly contact you.

If this is the case, you should keep trying contacting HR or the department that paid for your tuition. Eventually, they will point out the person you need to get in touch.

How about emailing your former manager at that company? Maybe, he would be able to tell you whom you should contact.

Good luck.

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    My manager was the main reason I quit my last company and she is hostile towards me. It was an incredibly toxic workplace. I've reached out to my HR business partner 4 times now, twice on the phone and twice through email. They referred me to their financial reps and even CC'd them on the email. The Financial reps never replied to that email or any of the two emails I sent them. They don't have a phone number in the directory that I've been able to find. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 12:02
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    Just a thought: AIUI, OP has received a bill that provides no details of available payment methods and no contact details of anyone who's able to clarify. Is it possible the "bill" is not an official communication from the company at all, but a malicious communication from this hostile manager? Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 15:10
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    @smichael_44 - Ask the HR business partner for a direct lines to those contacts. Do allow the conversation to end, where "they will call you back", tell this individual you want to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. Your only other recourse, hire a lawyer, and pay them to call individuals daily until the situation changes.
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 16:33
  • @Donald my last communication with a HR business partner was yesterday when they told me I cannot communicate with them because I no longer work there. So the only people who have been communicating with me this whole time, now won't help me. The payroll team through a third party is the one being negligent, the company is ADP who should be processing my requests Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 16:53
  • Also keep track of every email you sent them. Wouldnt hurt to send them a certified letter that requires a signature. CYA.
    – Keltari
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 18:07
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Step 1: Call them. Don't arrange any payment over the phone, don't accept any information over the phone, etc. You are calling them to say: "I know I owe you money, I've contacted you repeatedly to ask you how to pay you, you haven't responded. Do you want my money or not? If so, send me instructions by email".

Step 2: Send them one, and only one, followup email. The email is as follows:

As per our discussion on the phone, I would like to pay my outstanding bill. Please reply to this email with directions on how to pay the bill. If I do not receive a response to this email with instructions on how to pay the bill within 30 days, I will assume that the payment of this bill has been waived. I will not be contacting you again on this matter.

Step 3: Wait. You did as much as you can. If they don't reply within 30 days, then simply proceed as you stated: they have waived their payment of the bill, so just forget it exists and move on.

Step 4: If, after 30 days, they come to you and ask for payment, get a lawyer. I'm sure there's some sort of statute of limitations on this sort of thing; they can't simply hold you up forever on this bill payment and request payment at any time no matter how much time has passed. A lawyer will tell you if you should pay the bill, or if you should make them take you to court, based on your legal rights.

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  • This is kind of the plan I've had in my head and you helped validate it, thank you. Like I have the money ready to send to them whenever they request it. However, I want to know what options I have other than a paper check in the mail, like electronic payments, payment plans, etc. Like if they told me I could wire to a specific account I'd do it right now. But they won't answer any of my questions and it's been months. If I wait til 2023 I believe there could be tax implications. Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 16:51
  • @smichael_44 this plan neglects the real danger of collections destroying your credit. Once collections has it no lawyering will be able to fix your credit score. Equifax will not change anything. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 8:04
  • @DrMrstheMonarch Unfortunately, with the institution refusing payment (without giving OP a method of payment it's more or less the same as refusing payment), there's no real way around that. If OP receives collections mails eventually, they'll contact a lawyer and the lawyer will tell them what to do. It's possible the damage to OP's credit score could be something that OP could collect on in court.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 14:20
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Ok, since you've changed your question and want to pay the debt in full now.

I would still suggest that you still write "PAYMENT UNDER PROTEST" in the memo field of your cheque and in your cover letter, and keep copies for your records.

If you need to contest your credit reports, or if your former employer disparages you during employment checks in the future, having this note may be helpful to you.

And yes, pay whoever owns the debt now. If a debt collector owns the debt now, pay them, don't pay your former employer.

I am quite certain that I was overcharged by about $1500 but I have no clue how to dispute that since I don't have receipts because they "fronted" the cost. It seems super sketchy, and please see my edits. – smichael_44

Ok, follow these directions: https://www.consumerreports.org/consumerist/sample-letter-for-disputing-a-debt-collection-notice/

Apparently, you only have 30 days to respond, and you must respond in writing! In this case, I assume certified (or registered) mail, not email.

Let them know about all your previous attempts at communicating with them. Detail the dates and the people you were able to speak to.

Do not admit to any amount you owe in that letter. If they're not acting in good faith, do not act in good faith yourself. But do say that you're disputing the bill, and request an itemized bill, along with the receipts.

And whatever you do, do not pay a penny. If you start paying that bill, that will imply that you accept the full debt. Do not do that.

In the meantime, you may want to check your credit report with all the three agencies, and if you want to mention this company on your resume in the future, wait until the dust settles, and have a friend do an employment record check with your former employer. If you don't have a friend that can do that, there are services you can hire that specialize in that kind of thing.

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This question is tagged , but here in Australia, the short answer is regardless of what your contract says, you do not have to repay the costs, and for your employer to ask you to is in breach of the Fair Work Act & Reg.

The long answer is that costs such as relocation and training are considered 'recruitment' costs and under the Act & Reg, these can not be charged back to the employee, or expect the employee to pay them up-front.See the Far Work Act sections 324, 326 and 172.1. See the Fair Work Reg section 2.12.This has also been argued in the Fair Work Court, and a precedence has been set. See http://www.fwa.gov.au/decisionssigned/html/2011fwa39.htm I am not a lawyer, I have just heavy researched this topic myself for the same reasons when with a previous employer. Good luck.

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  • In the U.S., repayment of relocation assistance and tuition assistance if the individual doesn't work there for a specified amount of time after receiving the benefit is a standard clause in the contract, so this doesn't apply to the OP's situation. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 13:56
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So I've read your question - I have some generic advice - but first I want to confirm something:

You've acknowledged that they have sent you a Bill and that you are fine with paying it back. Why not simply pay the Bill and be done with it?

Are you contesting the amount? Are you wanting to setup some form of payment plan? Does the Bill not include payment information (like Account number, reference etc.)?

If it's fine - just pay and be done with it.

Right - that said - if any of the above applies - and you've sent emails to little or no response (although you indicate that those that have replied just referred you to the bill) - I would suggest that you will want written communication, e.g. a printed out letter, sent via tracked mail to the company address. Outline what your issues are and what resolution you seek and to ensure a response - I'd add something like this:

"If I don't hear back from you within 5 business days, I will consider that you have waived the fees"

This is unlikely to have any legal weight behind it, but it is more likely to get a response - at which point you can engage in a dialogue.

Other than that - you could attend in person to the company office - ask to speak to whoever is pertinent to the issue and ask to record the conversation - then follow-up with an Email outlining what was agreed to that specific person.

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    That's contradicted by the first part, I think this is someone trying to get out of paying, but not being upfront about it. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 20:13
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    Hey, I was just replying to your second sentence: "You've acknowledged that they have sent you a Bill and that you are fine with paying it back." Did you really need to confirm that? No. I find that line of questioning very argumentative because he very clearly doesn't want to pay it back. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 20:42
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    I disagree, I think the way the question is asked is somewhat deceptive. If he's fine with paying it back - as he says - then pay it. If there is some reason (such as the amount is wrong or he can't pay it in one go) then his question has merit - if his intent is to simply get out of paying it (which is also fine) then he should re-phrase his question to be more accurate however, that would likely not get the responses that he wants. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:11
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    There are many companies that try to scam their employees with training reimbursement clauses. I don't think you can automatically assume that the employee is the one at fault here. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 22:13
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    @smichael_44 you keep changing your story. In your edits you say "I'm not contesting the amount owed. I owe them the amount they are requesting and have the money to pay them back." and then above you say you think you are overcharged. Your lack of consistency tells me that you are simply looking to get out of paying and are wanting to get some air of legitimacy to getting out of it. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 19:20
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Has anyone dealt with something like this before? How do I approach this without my bills being sent to collections? Or is there a chance I can do something to get out of paying them since they have been negligent in communications?

In the situations where I. or somebody I knew. had to pay back money for training or the like, this was addressed before the last paycheck was sent. While the company owes you money, that is the time they want to address all outstanding issues.

This is usually addressed in the first few days after notice is given. HR and accounting want everything returned, all vacation/PTO addressed, and any outstanding funds for training or travel to be calculated. Once all the equipment (laptop, Phone...) is returned on the last day they let you know the exact balance that is owed either way.

Companies generally don't want to lose contact without without addressing the outstanding funds. Once you leave the office on the last day, they risk you ignoring them.

You have several options:

  • Ignore the bills but then address the consequences in the future.
  • Pay the exact amount of the bills. Keep copies of the receipts. If doing this by mail get a signature when it is delivered.
  • Keep trying to reach out to them. Use all means that are available. You can always follow up any phone conversation with an email.
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The best way to do it , if only thing you are after is register the payment in full and on time, would be to send them a cheque with copy of the bills and notarized letter from employment lawyer stating the breakdown of the amount on the cheque, perhaps you may want to make a certified cheque.

Send it registered mail with signature requirement to bills or HR department

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    No, don't do that. If the debt has really been sent to collections, then he'll be required to pay the debt collector as well. And it will be hell trying to recover the money from that certified check (even if the former employer doesn't cash it in). If a debt collector owns the debt, he needs to pay the debt collector, not the former employer. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 15:57
  • Also, if he does pay the bill despite knowing that it's wrong, he needs to write something on the cheque and something in his cover letter, saying that he does not agree with the amount being owed. In other words, he needs to preserve his rights to take legal action, just in case. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 16:13
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I know you are cool repaying what you agreed to but...

Are you sure the bills are real and not fabrications produced by your ex boss? No company wanting to collect money doesn't print on the invoice how to pay it. Seriously.

Lawyer time. You need one. You need them to find out if the invoices are real or forgeries. Could be Mail Fraud.

At my company, we have similar program & policies but every manager I've talked to about this over the years has said that they wouldn't actually try to collect. It wouldn't be worth the bad pr.

If you found a review on Glassdoor that said: "I couldn't afford to quit but I couldn't stand my boss. Now they sent me to debt collection to recoup the tuition & moving expenses." Would you work there or nope the fuck out? A post like this would hurt their ability to hire. That's the pr nightmare they want to avoid.

So... For the tuition, did you sign a contract or document spelling out what you owe and your agreement to repay it? They may not have the document. They may have lost the document. If this is the case, no debt collection agency will pay top dollar for it. If it goes to collections, demand the documentation proving it's a valid debt. If they can't prove it's a valid debt, you don't have to pay it.

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From your lack of detail sounds like you did in-fact breach some form of contract and aren't willing to disclose that here. Also seems you are willing to roll the dice on not paying these bills with 0 due diligence. Here is some life advice (not legal advice) if you go through life like this for long enough your number gets called sooner or later, and you get burnt.

I'd pay if I were you, and not risk it.

Edit

Although I do enjoy a good downvote haha I wrote that answer in before the OP put in they had the money to pay and was willing to pay, but sounded as if because no one was emailing them back they didn't have to pay.

Whoever emailed you the contract from HR initially you can request an invoice to pay from. You would have received this email to your personal account before you were onboarded. Perhaps they aren't ready to invoice you for accounting reasons which is why this hasn't happened yet. Them not contacting you in what you feel is a timely manor wouldn't mean you no longer have to pay them. Keep the money somewhere such as in a savings account, offset account etc. And be ready to pay. I think you can also call but purpose would be to find the correct place to send emails, or get somebody to get in touch with you, but it's their job to send you an invoice. Make sure the invoice is not dodgy though as invoice fraud is very prevalent.

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  • "Breach some contract" - I once got £2000 for relocation and would have had to pay it back if I left in the first year, half if I left in the second year. Leaving would not have been a breach of contract. Leaving and refusing to pay back the money would. And in this situation, OP is trying to find out how to return the money and they are not telling him.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 10:36
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    Yeah, I have the money in my account right now. I could pay them this second. However, no one has told me where to send any money to. Their financial reps are supposed to reach out to me but its been 4 months. I don't want to continuously follow up when I owe them money. Like when is it that I've made considerable efforts to pay them back and no one has responded, that I can take some sort of legal action against them or something. That's more what I'm asking. I knew originally I would have to pay them back, I didn't think it would be this hard. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 12:08
  • But why would you want to take legal action? I'd find out the company's official address, and write a registered letter to their official address where you promise to pay as soon as you get an itemised bill, and an account number. Make sure you don't spend the money.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 14:46
  • @gnaher729 'But why would you want to take legal action?' Because letting the current situation rumble on is dangerous to OP. Right now, OP can afford to pay the bill. But what happens if the company prevaricates for, say, 5 years, then suddenly decides to raise a proper invoice and demand prompt payment. By that point OP might have fallen on hard times and not be able to pay. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 15:28
  • @smichael_44 - You should be contacting individuals daily, instead of monthly, literally every single day until they provide whatever information required to pay them. Now, if the debt has been sent to collections, you need to pay the debt holder. You should again be following up daily, to pay this debt. You should not accept their lack of follow-through, to justify any potential impact, to YOUR credit score. If they continue to pay games, CONTEST the changes to your credit score, again you would want to followup daily on something like that.
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 16:38

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