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We Already Paid That

Sometimes things happen in business that are hard to forget. Please be forewarned that this is one of those times when truth is stranger than fiction.

Like the time many years ago an assistant came into my office with a check, (I recall it was just over $700.) stating that a client (can’t remember who – and probably wouldn’t say if I did) had double paid an invoice. OK, what would you do?

  • Deposit it without a second thought
  • Deposit it because anybody so inept doesn’t deserve to have it
  • Return it because we all make mistakes

We sent it back, and felt good about it. Image our surprise when about 10 days later it showed up again. As I recall there was a note attached. “No, your records are wrong, we have not paid the invoice – check is enclosed” Time to double check our records. And, we were good – all numbers matched, and their original check had cleared the bank. And, what would you do?

  • Deposit it without a second thought
  • Deposit it because we did the right thing, once – and furthermore, we tried.
  • Return it with all the supporting documentation, copies all around

We sent it back, with all the docs, copy of cancelled check… thinking they must be in administrative turmoil. If you’re counting, you already know where this is going. Yep, the check came back, no explanation this time… just the check, and a note with something about “no place to allocate it”

What would you do ?