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I got a new job in a large corporate and they provided relocation (rent, flight tickets, etc.) to Ireland. Three months after I started working there, I asked for a breakdown of the relocation costs for my records.

Since I am leaving early I have to pay back 50% of the relocation expenses. I got an email from the HR saying that the total cost of services is 1400 euros more than the one communicated and which I had in my records. The relocation service representative said that all that time I was getting estimates and not the actual cost. However, I was never told that.

I am really disappointed by the unfairness and the misguidance during the whole process. How should I handle this?

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    "I am really disappointed by the unfairness and the misguidance" Imagine how they feel when an international hire resigned after just three months. If you're not worried about reputation damage or burned bridges, contact a lawyer, but I doubt you'll have much luck. – Lilienthal Jan 11 '16 at 16:49
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    @Lilienthal I never said I resigned after three months. I said that I got the final breakdown of the costs three months after I started working there. I don't see how they are disappointed with me since I am willing to pay the amount we had originally agreed. Nonsense. – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 17:10
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    If the cost difference really bothers you, then you need to talk to a lawyer, Keep in mind this will burn any bridges that you still have at that company. Otherwise, just suck it up and move on. – David K Jan 11 '16 at 17:14
  • Wait, so you are saying that the cost breakdown you received after 3 months there was different from what they are currently say the cost was (and thus, how much you owe them)? The cost provided 3 months after starting should have been exact. Have you shown it to them? Are they telling you that the 3 month break down was an estimate? – mikeazo Jan 11 '16 at 17:48
  • @mikeazo YES. Exactly what you said. – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 17:54
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You are definitely between a rock and a hard place. I'm guessing that the breakdown you were given at 3 months gives no indication that it simply has estimated costs. You have a lot of options, but I'm not sure any of them are great.

  1. Pay what they say you owe. Just assume that they are telling the truth and not pulling something shady and pay up.
  2. Mention the discrepancy and the fact that you were given the original breakdown 3 months after starting and that it gives no indication that it is only an estimate. Tell them that due to the large difference and the fact that the original breakdown did not state that it was only an estimate, you would like further proof documenting the actual costs.
  3. Talk to HR to see if there is a process for disputing the costs.
  4. Talk to a lawyer to see if you can force them to provide documentation of the actual costs.
  5. Tell them that you will only pay based on the first breakdown you were given as it gives no indication of being only an estimate. If they want to push things further, tell them to contact your lawyer.

Each of these has different tradeoffs in terms of money and bridges burnt. I would probably start with #3, then #2, then make a choice between #1 and #5 if the previous two do not resolve the issue.

  • Thanks, I will probably do 3 and 5 but without mentioning anything about a lawyer. I prefer unemployement to working here again, so burning bridges isn't an issue. Do you think they could refer to this during a background check though (by let's say the next company I'm going to work for) ? – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 18:27
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    If future employers call this employer, sure they could refer to the incident. "Yeah, Mike ripped us off when he left. We paid for him to move here with the agreement that if he left before so many years he would repay 50% of the relocation costs. When he left, however, he stiffed us on part of the bill." Depending on the size of the company, this information may or may not be widely disseminated, affecting whether or not they say anything. If given the opportunity with the new employer, you have a good explanation at least. – mikeazo Jan 11 '16 at 18:40
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    You could always preempt them by telling a prospective employer about the situation in your words first. I would hope the old employer is not that petty and wouldn't even mention it in the first place, so it might not be worth it to preempt them. – mikeazo Jan 11 '16 at 18:41
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You're being ripped off, I would tell them I'm only going to pay what was on the original and leave it up to them to get a lawyer if they want to dispute it. And then I'd just ignore the lawyer.

It sounds like burning bridges isn't a problem so I don't see a need to take an extra loss quietly.

  • Thanks, I am not planning to work there ever again so yes burning bridges isn't a problem, but could they refer to this during a background check? – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 18:35
  • It would be very unlikely to go to court, but anything can happen, it's up to the company. – Kilisi Jan 11 '16 at 18:37
  • No I mean if I have an offer from a new company in the future and they need to perform a background check, and they call my current company, could they mention the incident and spoil the hiring? – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 18:39
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    that would be unprofessional of them, and if I was hiring you would not make a difference. It's an internal dispute, not a dishonesty problem or anything like that. So if I heard that while checking your background I would be very surprised that the company is making such claims, but it wouldn't reflect on you. – Kilisi Jan 11 '16 at 18:45
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Since I am leaving early I have to pay back 50% of the relocation expenses

I am really disappointed by the unfairness and the misguidance during the whole process. How should I handle this?

Assuming your contract said "If you leave early you must pay back 50% of the relocation expenses" rather than "If you leave early you must pay back XXXX euros", you should pay back 50% of the actual expenses.

Unless you have reason to believe that the expenses given to you in the breakdown are incorrect (and you should check), then whatever the estimates were aren't relevant. It would work the same way if the actuals came out less than the estimates, too.

You can be disappointed, but you really can't expect to pay less because the estimate wasn't completely accurate.

  • The thing is they were never communicated as estimates. It's like going to the supermarket to buy a coke for 1$ and then the cashier says "oh you know what, regardless what it says on our official labels, it's 1.5$ now". I may had taken different decisions if I knew from the beginning that the cost was higher. Also if I knew from the beginning that what I see is just estimates I would have asked for the actual costs much earlier. – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 22:30
  • I know it doesn't seem like a significant amount, but I am really tight on my student loan and I can't afford even a cent that I wasn't expecting. Nope the relocation was 100% complete. – Mike Jan 11 '16 at 23:57

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