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Client Accidentally Overpays – What Do You Do?

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Since I deal with corporate clients, getting $2,500 checks isn’t that easy. Two people have to sign a check, but the invoice has to go to 2 departments then through a processing plant, and back down to the 3rd floor for delivery Things can get confusing and sometimes they make mistakes.

Mistakes like paying twice on the same invoice.  This has happened to me several times.

So now I’m staring at a $2,500 error in my favor. Like monopoly, I feel like I got that bank error community chest card!


What would you do?

Would you deposit the check and hope corporate accounting doesn’t catch it and if they do you’ll just play stupid?

Or would you call up your point of contact and point out the error?

This is THE EXACT moment at the Garden of Eden where Satan tempted Eve.  That’s the same thing she went through. Does she take the shortcut to knowing God or does she refuse to compromise and follow God faithfully.

So you want to know what I personally did?  Here, I’ll tell you the truth from two times this has happened to me.

About a year ago I ate the apple and deposited the check. The client never found out, I still have the money.  But can I tell you that last year has been the roughest year of my career.  I’m not saying that this choice on my part caused all that, but it did reveal to God that I still wasn’t ready to be ‘trusted with a lot’ because I couldn’t be trusted with this little bit. (Luke 16:10-12).  God had to bring me down and out of depths of depression and anxiety that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’ve come out of that valley, and I’m stronger than ever!

And then came the test AGAIN!  OMG!!

This time I’m closer to God than ever before in my life, BUT I WAS STILL WANTING TO STEAL!!  I started to make up things in my mind like “well this could be God showing me favor because I tithed a big check to the church.” I began to justify what I know wasn’t right. The devil is a LIAR!  And he lurks around like a roaring lion ready to devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Even the godliest of men and women aren’t safe.

This time I took the other route.  Believe it or not I had to ‘sleep on it’ and the next morning my bible readings were related to ‘not taking shortcuts’. God is so amazing!  He met me in the morning and sat with me and showed me His word and promises.  He held me through the time of prayer and as I cried out to Him he held me closer than ever.  I repented for my sinful nature.

I emailed the client immediately and let him know about the mistake.

Godpreneurs: No shortcuts!  No stealing!  God is your CEO and he’s watching what you’re going to do with the check the devil brought you. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God is faithful and He won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can overcome.

Entrepreneurs, it is part of our sinful inheritance to want the harvest without the work. Satan is a liar and cheater, and so we shouldn’t be surprised to see such mistaken checks in the mail and a strong inclination to steal it. Any opportunity we have to get rich quick without working catches our attention immediately.

I’ve read somewhere that ‘Satan owns the short term.’ I love that.  So true.

Proverbs 20:17 says,

“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.”

God owns the long term. Life is a journey, not a short term trip. There are no shortcuts to satisfaction and true peace of mind.

Don’t do like I did and deposit the check.  Use it as an opportunity to show Jesus to a client of yours that might be thinking ‘wow, this person could have deposited that check and we would have never known, but there are some good people in this world’.

Ultimately, our first purpose in business is to give glory to God.  Do the right thing always.

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