Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Running Scared

Accountancy Age report a rather interesting story about a long running and acrimonious dispute between Mike Pallot (a retired PwC senior partner) and the ICAEW.

Mr Pallot was awarded £1,500 against the institute in a small claims court for overpaid subscriptions. He successfully argued that the ICAEW's subscription notices failed to make it clear that he was due a reduced subscription due to his retirement.

He is quoted:

"The ICAEW certainly seems to have gone to great lengths not to set a precedent by refunding me the amounts I paid as a result of what I see as a clear lack of transparency on its part, although I am at a loss to understand why it didn't seek to settle my claim in a sensible way before the matter reached court."

The case, and the fact that the ICAEW went to so much trouble to try to avoid setting a precedent, gives rise to a number of questions:

1 Why did the ICAEW not simply settle out of court?

2 Why did the ICAEW waste so much time and money on trying to prevent the claim succeeding?

3 How much money did the ICAEW waste by being so intransigent?

4 What is the potential liability facing the ICAEW from back claims made by retired members, and others (eg unemployed), who now realise that they have been overpaying their subscriptions?

5 If the ICAEW knows the answer to 3, why hasn't it done the ethical thing and alerted the members who have overpaid that they are owed a rebate and that they are overpaying their subs?

It seems to me that the ICAEW is running scared, I advise all members to double check their subscriptions.

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