Can my former company charge me for a defective laptop?

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Can my former company charge me for a defective laptop?

I recently resigned for a oil and gas company. They issued me 2 laptopshandy downs that were in tough shape but still worked. When I turned in all of my issued equipment I was told I was fine and would not get charged for anything. I come to find out they had charged me $600 for a damaged laptop. I have emailed them asking if I could get a refund or pick up the laptop. Take note that this laptop is not near worth $600 maybe not even $100. They told me that they would ship it to the main office, an 8 hour drive, and I could pick it up there. What can I do to get my $600 back or at least a laptop worth $600? I’m pretty sure I signed a paper saying that the company can deduct my pay for

damaged items but I did not damage it.

Asked on July 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you signed something that said they can deduct for damage, then IF you damaged it, they could deduct the cost to repair (if possible) or the then-current value (if repair is not possible, or if the repair cost exceeds the value; similar to "totalling" a car, they can get the lesser of repair cost or  current value). So the issues are 1) did you cause the damage; and 2) even if you did, did they overcharge you? If you believe that you did not cause the damage and/or that they are charging more than the laptop is worth, you could sue your employer for "breach of contract" for compensation: to recover money from them because they are violating the terms of the agreement you signed. For this amount of money, suing in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se," is a very good option.


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