Turning In A Bad Check

Business By awatterson Updated 21 Dec 2010 , 8:15pm by awatterson

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 10:55am
post #1 of 44

I only let people I know write me checks because I THOUGHT they wouldn't write a bad check. I cashed the check on November 29th. I got it back on the December 13th for insufficient funds. I emailed the girl and told her that I got it back and she need to get me another check ASAP for the $87 plus the $12 returned check fee. She emailed back right away she apologized and said that she had just put a bunch of money in her account and they had put a hold on it and said that she would get me a check and asked for my address. She also said that she LOVED the cake.

Two days went by and I didn't hear anything from her, so I emailed her again on the 15th and told her to go to my website and pay by credit card. She said that she would.

On Friday I still didn't have the money, so I emailed her again. I send all of my emails with a read receipt and I saw that she read it and she just didn't respond.

Still no money. This morning I sent her an email to her home email because I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that she may have forgotten by the time she got home from work.

How long would you wait to give the check over to the authorities? This is just someone I used to work with and I am friends with her on Facebook.

Thanks. icon_cry.gif

43 replies
online_annie Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 11:42am
post #2 of 44

All I can think to say is "How Awful!!". It's a difficult position to be in. I see great potentional for a facebook disaster. Unfortunately, you have given more than enough time. Business is business. I am willing to accept checks under the condition they are received 3 weeks in advance. If they don't clear, no cake. I would absolutley turn it in. She has had time to come to you with any personal difficulties that may have come up, but hasn't. If anything, you can send her an official letter stating if payment is not received by xxx you have no choice but to turn it over to a collection agency. See if that gets you anywhere. One word of advice would be: DO NOT Air Dirty Laundry on Facebook. She may bash you, but above all, keep it professional! She got the cake, has paid, several attempts were made. If she bashes you, you can put that Facebook is not the place to discuss such things. People and customers will respect you for it.

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:11pm
post #3 of 44

Thanks for the advice. I definitely wouldn't say anything on facebook about it! I thought that I had given her ample time to pay, but I just wanted to make sure with other people. I was going to send her an email on Tuesday saying if I didn't get the payment within 24 hours I would turn it in, but you might be right about sending a register letter.

pattycakesnj Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:12pm
post #4 of 44

Every state's laws are different. In my state (NJ), if you get a bad check, you have to send the person written notice of it. If it is not made good within 5 days of that wriiten notice, then the case can be prosecuted in criminal court. However that being said, as a prosecutor for 25 years, we wouldn't bother prosecuting such a small amount. However, as I said, every state is different and you must check your state's statute to see what is required to prosecute. Good luck

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:18pm
post #5 of 44

Yeah, I was looking at some of the laws the other day and I didn't realize in VA that any bad check over $50 is a felony.

pattycakesnj Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:23pm
post #6 of 44

But even though it may be classified as a felony, it may not be prosecuted as such. A lot of times, the authorities have the option of reducing the charge and sending it to a municipal court to prosecute as a disorderly person's offense or misdemeanor. That is actually better for you, a lot less intimidating and quicker justice.

indydebi Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:46pm
post #7 of 44

I've only had less than a handful of check problems (three maybe?) but the one bad one sounds like your story ..... no response. So I gave it to my hubby, who pulled the "I'm Debi's office manager and we have a payment problem." Hubby was 25-yr banker and spent part of that time as a repo-man for the bank, so he's got the spiel down pretty good.

Anyway .... by giving it to him, it made it seem like I had 'elevated' it to my office manager, and I hate to admit it, but I'm sure the message coming from a man added some urgency and importance to it. Remember, we spend much of our sales/marketing time with the client to build our relationship with them, so by the time the event gets here, we are their "buddy". It's like just us girls gabbing and oh gosh darn could ya take care of that little check problem for me, sweetie? thanks! Pass the bon bons!

But an "office manager", and one with a voice of authority can make a difference.

Or ..... Just have your attorney send her a letter. icon_twisted.gif

audrey0522 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:01pm
post #8 of 44

In some states you can take the check to the bank it is written on and ask them if there is enough money in the account to cover the check. If there is have them give you cash for the check right then. You might even be able to call their bank to see if there is enough in the account to cover the check and then immediatly go to that bank to cash the check.

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:04pm
post #9 of 44

Indydebi, since she knows me I am not sure if she would "buy" the fact that I have an office manager.

audrey0522, my bank just sent me a copy of the check, so I can't try to cash it again. I wish they sent me the check because I know when her pay day is and I would have taken it right then.

indydebi Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:07pm
post #10 of 44

icon_redface.gif oh, sure, that bluff wouldn't work for ya then. icon_redface.gif

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:26pm
post #11 of 44

Thanks anyways Indydebi. It still gave me a good laugh in this situation. I just want to ask her why in the heck she got a 2 tiered custom cake if she didn't have the money. It makes no sense to me why everyone has gotten crazy with their cakes. People always want dang 2 and 3 tiered cakes for a birthday.

CWR41 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 4:49pm
post #12 of 44

I'd ask the bank if you can get the actual returned check back to take to the prosecuting attorney's office. In my state, they collect without a fee and threaten to arrest--I'd let them do the job. A collection agency is great for people who don't pay, but it's easier to collect from people who write bad checks by going through the local authorities.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 6:37pm
post #13 of 44
Originally Posted by awatterson

my bank just sent me a copy of the check, so I can't try to cash it again.

The few times I've gotten a copy of a bounced check, there was wording on the copy that said the copy of the check was live and could be cashed.

Since you know her, I would give her a call, and if you can't get in touch with her by phone you could pay her a visit in person.

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 8:10pm
post #14 of 44

Thanks jasonkraft, you are right. It does say that it is a legal copy and can be used the same way a check is.

At this point I definitely want her to pay by credit card and I don't want to see her.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 8:51pm
post #15 of 44
Originally Posted by awatterson

At this point I definitely want her to pay by credit card and I don't want to see her.

I would say cash only at this point...why should you have to pay the extra credit card fees?

awatterson Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 8:53pm
post #16 of 44

Ah, I was thinking that you meant go see her and get another check. Hum. There used to be an ATM at our work, so maybe I might just stop by and pay her a visit. Thanks jasonkraft.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 9:01pm
post #17 of 44

Not only that but she can charge back a credit card payment. Best idea is to take it to the bank at payday like you said. Also, calling her at work until she or her boss says not to is within the rules and adds pressure. You only tell her the reason for the call--you can't reveal it to anyone else--if someone asks you just say it's a business call.

And if you get it cashed at her bank they might charge you a fee for it--not saying I like it or think it's right but that does happen.

pixiefuncakes Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 9:20pm
post #18 of 44

Maybe you could suggest a payment plan to her? If she is struggling financially, she may be really embaressed to admit it to you. I know its not your cheque, but you may end up with the money eventually.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 9:35pm
post #19 of 44
Originally Posted by pixiefuncakes

Maybe you could suggest a payment plan to her? If she is struggling financially, she may be really embaressed to admit it to you. I know its not your cheque, but you may end up with the money eventually.

Pixie, say no to payment plans. If she was struggling financially she should not have placed a cake order.

awatterson Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 2:41am
post #20 of 44

No payment plan for her. I gave her the cake in one piece, so I want the payment in one piece. MAYBE if she had come clean in the beginning I MIGHT have thought about it, but since it has been a hassle just to get any payment I don't want to have to keep chasing after her every month.

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 4:34am
post #21 of 44

Why on earth would you accept another check from her when the first one bounced? icon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

Call her up and leave a message AND send a certified letter AND send a private message via FB stating that if you don't receive the full amount plus the NSF fee in cash or certified bank check in 3 days you are taking her to small claims court and turning her over to the DA (or whatever legal authority handles bad checks in your state). Bet that gets her butt in gear.

jonahsmom Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 5:13am
post #22 of 44

I'd call the county attorney. We just had to do that with my father-in-law's business for someone who wrote two bad checks a week apart. My FIL didn't know the first one was bad until after they had written the second one. My FIL had to send a letter to them (served by the sheriff) that said they had 10 days to pay and if they didn't it was being turned into the county attorney for theft by check. It got their attention!!! Our county attorney has forms for both the letter to send to the check writer through the sheriff and for the form that eventually goes to the county attorney.

Just my two cents...good luck!

MollyGirl_17 Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 6:15am
post #23 of 44

Go to police dept that has jurisdiction - most have a "bad check packet" for people people to fill out that has all the paperwork, instructions, etc of what you need to do. Around here you have to complete the packet before the police will even take the report. I'm sorry this happened to you, especially from someone you know. You've given her ample time and opportunity to make good on her check.

As for calling her at work, I would not do that. She may call the police to file a telephone harassment complaint against you. She knows she owes you money already, so just put it in the hands of the legal authorities.

Corrie76 Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 6:21am
post #24 of 44

Be your own collection agency. Call her and e-mail her once a day everyday- that's how a real one works. Eventually she will pay up just to make the calls and e-mails stop. Also, I'd stop by her bank with that copy and see what they say, they may honor it when/if she has money in her acct.
Good luck, I hope you get your money!

awatterson Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 10:42am
post #25 of 44

Thanks everyone.

cakesbycathy, I was going to accept another check AT FIRST when I thought maybe it was an honest mistake, but now I see that it was on purpose, I wouldn't accept ANY checks from her.

Her bank is USAA, which is in TX, so I can't stop by there.

I will keep you guys posted on what happens.

cakesdivine Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 8:41pm
post #26 of 44

Where I live (in Texas) you have to send a certified letter that gives them 10 days from the date of the letter to make good on the check AND you can charge as much at $50 extra over the amount of the check for the NSF inconvenience. If they don't respond to the letter you can go down to the local DA and file charges of theft by check. Once that is filed a warrant for their arrest is issued and if brought in cost SOOO much more to them than if they had just paid the check.

cownsj Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 9:29pm
post #27 of 44

It is possible she had the money when she ordered the cake (just playing devil's advocate here, and giving another thought......), but something happened between when you got the check and went to cash it. She could have had an emergency that took her money. And she could be too embarassed to have to admit there is a problem. There is a whole psychology having to do with people who are in debt, and it includes embarassement, withdrawal, humiliation, intimidation, insecurity, helplessness.......... you get the idea. Now, none of this is your doing, nor is it your problem. However, understanding it can help you to work effectively with her to get you paid. And while I know you want and maybe even need her to pay it all, immediately, if she can't, she can't, so working a payment plan out with her in a way she can handle both financially and emotionally, can in fact get you paid. All this providing that she just found herself in a bad situation. Just a thought.

(From a website on the subject)

10 Emotions of Debt
Emotions can be deadlier then debt itself.

We interviewed Paul, he was willing to share his roller coaster ride with debt and the emotional problems it caused him. Paul is like most people a good person that made bad decisions.

One of the things Paul pointed out was he got to the point where he felt out of control. He hoped it would just fix itself which it didn't, this made things worse when he had to face up to the problems.

The first 5 emotions

Fear - fear of not knowing what to do.
Frustration - allowing yourself to get in this position.
Guilt - not being able to meet you obligations.
Worry - what is going to happen.
Anxiety - the culmination of the above.
Paul listed these as the first emotions that came with the realization that he was in trouble with his debt. He started getting calls from the lenders and panic set in.

Like many people Paul is a good person and these emotions are common because most people didn't deliberately go into debt with the intention of not paying it back.
Paul got caught up in the hype and ease of buying a house he couldn't really afford, getting the home equity to fix it up and believing the headlines that the rise in prices would never end.
Paul woke up one day and found his bills were more than his paycheck and the headaches began. As interest rates rose and housing prices fell the tide turned. Unable to refinance his house or borrow any more money he was faced with the reality of debt.
This is such a common story among us today and there are more chapters to be written. Even though Paul is working through this problems it's still a stress for him and his family.

The Next 5 emotions

Anger - that he let this happen, he let himself get trapped, even thinking it was a deadly sin.

Shame - that he was losing his house and car.

Hopelessness - regression, he lost sight of a solution.

Panic - not knowing what to do.

Failure - disruption of his families lifestyle, his responsibility to care for them.

awatterson Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 9:38pm
post #28 of 44

She gave me a check on Sunday and I cashed it Monday morning. I think that she does have financial problems, but a custom cake is a luxury, not a necessity.

cakesdevine, In VA we have to send a certified letter and wait 30 days. We can recover 3 times the amount of the check up to $250 plus the amount of the check. I don't want all of that money, I just want what she owes me.

cownsj Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 9:41pm
post #29 of 44

I absolutely agree, it is a luxury, not a necessity. And you don't deserve to have been put in this situation at all. My post was just another thought in case you have a need to approach it in a different way to get your money. I hope when you go to her bank you get the check cashed on the spot. I'm 1000% on your side with this.

awatterson Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 9:44pm
post #30 of 44

I think that people just get caught up in impressing their friends with their kid's birthday parties. It makes me sad that people feel like they have to impress other people and live outside of their means. I can't get to her bank because it is in TX and I am in VA.

Quote by @%username% on %date%