Debt collectors hunt overpayments
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 6:26a.m.
By 3 News online staff
There is outrage this morning over the revelation debt collectors are being sent to the homes of teachers to recoup money overpaid by the Novopay system.
Many other school staff have been underpaid or not paid at all during more than six months of problems by the payroll system, run by Australian company Talent2.
Labour's Education spokesman Chris Hipkins is furious.
"These overpayments are the Government's mistake. The fact that they're now sending debt collectors around to heavy people for money that they never took, they were given it, it was put into their bank accounts, they didn't ask for it – I think it's absolutely disgusting," says Mr Hipkins.
"I met a teacher in my own electorate last week who had been overpaid by Novopay one week, underpaid in the next and was being heavied to repay the money from the overpayment despite the fact that the underpayment more than compensated for that."
Some teachers are being chased for as little as $22 in overpayments, the New Zealand Herald reported this morning.
"Yesterday morning, a courier arrived and woke up my household," west Auckland primary teacher Kelly Clarke told the paper. "The delivery was a letter from Novopay informing me that debt collectors would be employed to take control of my $22.78 debt."
Ms Clarke says the debt collectors were put on hold after she complained to the Government.
NZEI president Ian Leckie said using debt collectors as an "absolute overreach".
"I'm absolutely astounded that this is a process that is being used while we have so many teachers who are being either underpaid or not paid at all," he told Firstline this morning.
"I think absolutely the first priority is to get teachers paid correctly, and we would hope that the teaching profession were honest people and I can vouch that they certainly are. People who are overpaid generally will pay it back – that shouldn't be an issue – and in fact to have debt collectors out there in this process is just an absolute overreach."
A recent survey by the Post Primary Teachers' Association claims more teachers are being wrongly paid than the Government's reports suggest.
3 News / RadioLIVE
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13/03/2013 3:47:46 p.m.
If Novopay can't sort out the pays correctly (i.e. overpaid vs underpaid) how on earth can they be expected to clarify if a person actually owes this debt? MY SUGGESTION to teachers throughout NZ - every time you are NOT or SHORT paid - call the debt collectors to issue summons to Novopay!!
13/03/2013 2:05:58 p.m.
Jon H wrote:
This goverment are thugs. Some teachers don't even know they have been over paid. Shame on the company that excepted the contract without due diligence. Teachers are just caught in the middle of a goverment fight with Novapay. Any overpayment by should be coming out of Novapay. Why weren't teachers notified that there was an issue with their payments. Isn't it standard practice to only call in the debt collecting thugs when all other avenues have been exchursted??? A letter is usually the 1st contact. Surely before any debt collectors are sent in, given the mess of Novapay an auditor should be sent in to check the accounts are correct??? Debt collectors are a total waste of tax payer money!!! I think any audit could take months to sort though, given the complex nature of the Novapay beast. We support you teachers. The goverment & Novapay should be sent to the princiles office for a snack down or detention, if not both! This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
13/03/2013 11:51:55 a.m.
Come on people!! being overpaid is no different to being under paid ,it is a maistake that needs to be corrected, although I certainly sympathise with those being underpaid no question, but on the other hand if you are being over paid and accepting it, well that is theft, it should be repaind imediately no question, don't dam well bleat that you didn't ask for it, simply don't take it don't spend it and return it simple as that, jeepers human behaviour is shocking sometimes I'm certainly glad I won't be around in 30+ yrs to see what the human race develops into, but I can gaurantee you one thing, greed will destroy this planet more so than anything else.
13/03/2013 11:37:56 a.m.
Pursuing a debt of $22.50 just shows how pathetic NZ is, people who havnt been paid should be send debt collectors after novapay.
13/03/2013 11:30:30 a.m.
Bringing debt collectors is just an overeach of the powers above us.
Computers are mainly to blame causing also havoc among those who are over paid and then underpaid.
Debt collectors of course have their job to do but to collect so low in some cases even courts do not allow this!
Unfortunately those over paid, then underpaid should by rights have been corrected but the debt collectors are not there to work things out only to do a job.
Teachers! There is only one way to solve this strike all out.
I am not for striking coming from a country that was so for it and walked into trouble and strife.
In this case all is very wrong with the cooperation allowing this to go on for too long.
We all know the problem too much money going somewhere where it shouldn't otherwise the correction would have been solved.
The terrible business of Christchurch and now well into almost 3 years still not getting there, although slowly be it.
Government needs to either find a very quick solution and not waver so much.
Or give up and a new election.
Keys is a very proud man and won't let go and those who voted for him deserve this but those of us that didn't have to roll with the waves.
Get a life NZ realize what is happening don't put your head in the sand at some point you will have to rise to this situation.
13/03/2013 11:24:15 a.m.
But the govt wants this money back now so they can pay the bill for the massive ad campaign for shares in their other bad decision of selling us all out of the countries assets. All teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians and students need to stand up for these guys and our education system to boot. The govt is making such a mess of education namely Parata but their are the others who made the decision to change the payroll system to a no doubt cheaper one that has had no end to it's problems. Why fix something that wasn't broken. Its all aobut the money with these guys!!!!!!
13/03/2013 11:21:11 a.m.
I've had a letter sent out for unpaid fines of 69 cents. It would have cost more for the paper envelope and ink and postage. Goes to show government agencies have more dollars than sense (cents)
13/03/2013 11:10:04 a.m.
They should not worry about collecting back any amount less than $100.00. Surely it is not worth the expense of collecting it. Small amounts like that should just be written off and left as compensation for the stress.
13/03/2013 11:07:07 a.m.
what a joke sending debt collectors to recoup money back, if povo did their damn job properly this crap wouldn't be happening. Get a grip and leave them alone, they have suffered enough and the money paid out wouldn't even cover what they have to put up with.
13/03/2013 10:02:00 a.m.
still if they know its not theirs they should be giving it back so the underpaid etc teachers can get their money quickly two wrongs dont make a right neither do three wrongs
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