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Old 30.08.2012, 17:29
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Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Hi,

I would appreciate some advice.

I am moving from my apartment in geneva and the process has been smooth and relations with the Regie have been good so far.

Unfortunately, I did not cancel my standing order in time for the next rent payment and this went out on Monday. I sent them a mail to alert them and included a print screen - no response. I followed up weds with a mail - no response and no refund. Checked again today ( Thursday ) and no refund so I called them.

Eventually I speak to a lady who says she will follow this up with the responsible but she is probably waiting to see whether the final check ( tomorrow morning ) goes through without issue.

This is where I have the issue - I have FirstCaution in place for precisely this reason and I think my extra payment is entirely a separate issue. They are clearly taking advantage of the fact I made the error and hedging their bets.

I think they should return the money immediately and any deposit issues are dealt with in the appropriate way. What are my rights in this situation? Should I state my intention to consult with ASLOCA if they don't pay me back immediately?

I am quite annoyed with them and their behaviour really ruins over 2 years of a civil relationship with one another.

Thanks, Matthew
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Old 30.08.2012, 18:02
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

I had the same scenario.

Go to your bank and ask them to recall the payment.
You need to sign something to say you made the payment in error.
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Old 30.08.2012, 18:30
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

A bank cannot recall a payment unless they have approval from the
benficiary, it would be a bit too easy otherwise....
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Old 30.08.2012, 18:48
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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A bank cannot recall a payment unless they have approval from the
benficiary, it would be a bit too easy otherwise....
All I did was sign a form to say payment was made in error.
I don't know what went on behind the scenes mind you, but I did get my money back.
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Old 30.08.2012, 18:51
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Hey, yeah I already asked my bank and they confirmed it. They said it would quicker to go to the regie directly, but obviously they didn't count on the level of crookery going on.

I will wait for tomorrow and give them a chance to inspect the flat and return the funds after that. If they mess me around, it will be to ASLOCA and - in any case - their managing partner is going to get a stinking complaint from me to boot.
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Old 30.08.2012, 19:11
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Since the final check is coming up soon I can understand the Regie and I would not assign them any nefarious motives.

For example, assuming that you have trashed the place and the deposit would not be sufficient to cover the damages, the Regie would naturally want to hold onto the surplus rent payment just in case. The deposit is not the maximum limit of your liability, it is just the maximum amount that is secured by means of deposit.

Still, if after the inspection the Regie still does not return the money, then you can start complaining (unjustified enrichment, and/or undue use of assets).
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Old 30.08.2012, 19:22
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Thanks, Mica - that has given some additional comfort. I still think its underhand of them to try it on, but I will see what tonorrow brings and will try not not give them any reason to complain. Just off to finish cleaning - will update the thread again tonorrow...
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Old 30.08.2012, 20:17
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Why do we always assume everyone is being a crook?

It's only been a few days. We did this too in our last place. The payment went out after we changed apartments, had the handover, etc as I, like you, forgot to stop the payment order. I'm sure it happens all the time.

They returned the payment no problem. But it didn't happen instantaneously. There is a process that companies have to go through. The accountant probably hasn't gotten to it yet.

Let's try to give people the benefit of the doubt until we have confirmation that this is all a conspiracy/devious, etc.
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Old 30.08.2012, 23:18
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Well, i get your point and I would like to give the benefit of the doubt, but regies in geneva are notoriously devious and I don't trust them an inch. If they have a process to go through, they could have replied to any one of my three emails this week to assuage my fears. If I feel overly paranoid or distrusting about it, I think they brought that on themselves.

I'm afraid I feel safer with a regulatory body on my side when it comes to regies here - nepotistic, overly strict, blunt, unfriendly and cut throat.
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Old 31.08.2012, 00:09
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

From an accounting point of view it takes at least 2 weeks to reverse a payment that is made in error, firstly to confirm that what you say it actually true, balance the account, confirm the overpayment, prepare the reversal, and have it authorised. It would make perfect sense to me (from administrative experience) to finalise your moving out, and return both the deposit and the overpaid rent together as one lump sum). The person who collects/processes the money coming in, may not be the same person who is authorised to send money out, in fact, it probably takes 2/3/4 people to authorise an outgoing payment.

The electronic transfer of funds doesn't happen instantaneously. It's an agreement between the banks to act like it does happen. I'd expect the company to wait until the end of month statements, because up until the statements are issued, nothing is properly reconciled, and anything can happen between the two banks/accounts.

I know it's a pain, but the fault is yours, and the fact that you think the company can fix it all in a few moments, just shows lack of knowledge.

However, if it was a credit card payment, different story. Very easy to cancel/claim fraud/reverse a payment, etc.
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Old 31.08.2012, 09:34
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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they could have replied to any one of my three emails this week to assuage my fears.
It is common courtesy (and generally good business practice) to reply to a customer's concerns. By not responding at all, the customer is left to think they are being cheated.

But maybe the lack of action on the part of the regie falls under the 'corrective behavior' I've heard about in CH? The renter is the one that made the mistake, so they will teach him/her a lesson by making him sweat over it??
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Old 31.08.2012, 09:43
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

I had to arrange a return of a payment for my boss before the summer. It went from a UBS account to a ZKB account and was paid online.

The return was requested on the Tuesday morning and the money was back in the UBS account on Friday morning. The amount was under 10K.

I, too, didn't know what went on behind the scenes with the two banks but it seems it can be done fairly quickly if it's a straightforward case.
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Old 31.08.2012, 09:52
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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From an accounting point of view it takes at least 2 weeks to reverse a payment that is made in error, firstly to confirm that what you say it actually true, balance the account, confirm the overpayment, prepare the reversal, and have it authorised. It would make perfect sense to me (from administrative experience) to finalise your moving out, and return both the deposit and the overpaid rent together as one lump sum). The person who collects/processes the money coming in, may not be the same person who is authorised to send money out, in fact, it probably takes 2/3/4 people to authorise an outgoing payment.

The electronic transfer of funds doesn't happen instantaneously. It's an agreement between the banks to act like it does happen. I'd expect the company to wait until the end of month statements, because up until the statements are issued, nothing is properly reconciled, and anything can happen between the two banks/accounts.

I know it's a pain, but the fault is yours, and the fact that you think the company can fix it all in a few moments, just shows lack of knowledge.

However, if it was a credit card payment, different story. Very easy to cancel/claim fraud/reverse a payment, etc.
Really? I would say it takes several hours at best from an internal accounting point of view, maybe add a couple of days for the bank to earn their interest for redepositing through the "clearing" system.
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Old 31.08.2012, 10:53
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Speak to them once again, ask for the payment to be reversed immediately or within an expected reasonable time! It should not be tied to anything else regardless of wether you trashed the place or not! Payment made in error should be reversed full stop! No ifs no buts! If they don't agree to this on the telephone, speak to the bank immediately and initiate a payment reversal, regardless of what it costs and regardless of how long it's going to take!

This is a matter of principle!
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Old 31.08.2012, 16:38
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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Really? I would say it takes several hours at best from an internal accounting point of view, maybe add a couple of days for the bank to earn their interest for redepositing through the "clearing" system.
And then add a couple of days for the woman who in charged of rentals to get in touch with the guy who does accounting and for the guy who does account to get around to it.

You can imagine that this is not top of the list of things to do from these employees point of view. Sure it's a PITA and not a nice attitude from the regie but I'd hardly say it was a scam. Not yet anyway.
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Old 31.08.2012, 23:03
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

There's Swiss time, and then there's Regie time. The OP needs to relax somewhat. I'm sure everything is going to be ok
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Old 02.09.2012, 14:35
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

Update - I had my final check and the guy was pleased with the apartment and signed off to handover the apartment with no penalties.

On the document I signed to acknowledge was a note that there should be a reimbursement of the amount I had paid, so it seems they were purposely keeping my payment as an additional "guarantee" on their side. From what I understand, they will now be paying me back.

I am in the UK from next week and will be monitoring my account closely.

However, I am not happy being treated this way by the regie and the return of funds is not going to be the end of it, if I can help it. They took clear advantage of my error, they were unprofessional in not replying to my concerns and acted possibly illegally by keeping the funds - from a previous post, I understand that they can only keep 3 months deposit as a maximum and this is the precise reason I had my other deposit in place.

I suspect that money in hand is easier to "keep" than having to make a pesky claim from Firstcaution. I am going to get some advice from ASLOCA and see if I can take it further legally. Honestly, I doubt they will offer any useful advice - the way I see it, they're all in it together and I, as an annoying foreigner, shouldn't prevent them from transcending the letter of the law if it stops them making a buck. I have come away from the experience even more convinced that the regies in Geneva are worse than the mafia in their complicity and deviousness. At best, they are totally useless and lazy, at worst - they seem happy to take advantage when it suits them and this - as well as other experiences with a generally belligerent and passive aggressive approach - just concretizes this view even more for me.

As for the 2 weeks turnaround time, I don't see how this can be correct. I have made payments internationally for millions of dollars with a turnaround of less than 24 hours, so expecting 2 weeks for an internal CHF amount is way off. What might be the case is that it takes the average regie 2 weeks to read their e mails and formulate the most pointless response possible, that's probably where that timeframe fits in.

Thanks for all your useful advice, however -
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Old 02.09.2012, 14:36
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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There's Swiss time, and then there's Regie time. The OP needs to relax somewhat. I'm sure everything is going to be ok
Trying !
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Old 02.09.2012, 16:27
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

I guess it would have been a lot easier if you hadn't screwed up in the first place, right? I guess the regie are busy and you don't rank that highly on the pecking order. I understand that you wanted your money back quickly and that you were disappointed. I also understand why the regie didn't feel that they needed to put a rush on it. They act slowly enough when it IS their screw up, so when it isn't there really isn't much incentive.

Take it further? If you get your money within a reasonable amount of time then I would ask yourself whether YOU don't have anything more important to do? You won't be getting compensation, so why bother? Just to make a point? It really isn't worth it. Sing a few bars of "That's lfe" and go on to the next chapter...
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Old 02.09.2012, 20:42
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Re: Advice needed - Regie in Geneva - Payment Error

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I have made payments internationally for millions of dollars with a turnaround of less than 24 hours, so expecting 2 weeks for an internal CHF amount is way off.
Were any of those payments made in error (your mistake, not theirs) and then reversed in 24 hours? If so I kind of get your point, but still...

What is your final goal in all this? Do you just want your money back as you seemed to imply in your first post, or are you out for blood? Is it really worth spending so much time, energy and possibly money for revenge?
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