Our family has received demand letters to pay back a "negative balance" on our oil royalty accounts. There is no accounting for the amount that the oil company is requesting us to pay back or any explanation in the letters as to where the "negative balance" came from. The letters state that if the money is not sent within 30 days, the matter will be turned over to their legal department.
After calling and emailing, we were told that the "negative balance" came about, because when they pooled our well with another well, their accounting department failed to reduce the percentage that we were being paid on for our well. They discovered the error when the owners of the other property inquired as to why they were receiving no revenue from our original well.
It seems that they are reluctant to state that this whole thing resulted from their error, and they have not provided an accounting of the actual amounts paid vs. what they believe should have been paid.
We are wondering if we can ask to pay back a discounted amount, due to the fact that we paid higher taxes and made charitable contributions based on the amounts that were "overpaid." We are also wondering if we can ask for more than 30 days to pay these amounts back, as they were received over a course of 24 months. One relative is in their mid 80's and paying this large sum back all at once would be a financial burden.
If anyone has any experience with something like this, your input is appreciated.