GRS Home  Forum Home
Bank Rates Center
   Savings Account Rates
   Money Market Rates
   Highest CD Rates
Insurance Rates Center
  Auto           Health
   Life              Home
Mortgage Rates Center
  Mortgage Rates
  Mortgage Quotes

Last visit was:
A place for Get Rich Slowly readers to ask questions
and exchange ideas
It is currently Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:42 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:36 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:32 am
Posts: 2
Ok long story short.. an affiliate marketing company I've been in business with since 2003 closed shop in May '10 and said they would be in contact with clients about final payment. I had to leave for overseas abruptly a month later and in September of '10 it appears cheque were sent out as final payment. I hadn't received a cheque from this company since 2005 as I had changed over to wire transfers. No email
or other correspondence was sent to me informing me a check had been issued.
The address I had on file belonged to my parents (where I used to live) and mail from that address was not automatically forwarded to my pobox and important mails forwarded to me. Unfortunately the check got lost amongst some junk mails. I had to stay a lot longer than I anticipated for family related issues and didn't get back until June 2011. I tried to get in contact with the company but to no avail. Several months later I was able to track down a lady that worked for this company and she was nice enough to put me in touch with one of the directors, he asked me how much the check was for and he would get back to me. I waited and waited, nothing. Tried emailing him again, no response.. months passed, tried calling, etc etc.
Well I was able to get a few responses from him from the dozen or so emails I sent, but he seems adamant not to send me another cheque or organize alternative payment. I made this company over $70k in sales and the check is worth 3.8k. I still have the check in my possession, the lady I spoke to said the check was only good for 180 days (not sure if that was actually printed on the check.. will verify this), but no doubt he has put a stop on the check anyway to avoid paying me. Is there anything I can do with this "stale" cheque. I fear if I get lawyers involved it will cost me the entire 3.8k. Plus I am in Australia and the company is either in the U.S or Canada. I have tried every which way to reason with this gentlemen but it has proven fruitless.

I am in somewhat financial distress at the moment, so this money would come in very handy.

Any advice?

Thanks


Last edited by alex23 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:32 am 
Moderator

Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5205
I think you are out of luck. In the US a check is only valid for 180 days, less if it says that on the check itself. So that information was correct.

My guess is that the company has fulfilled its obligations by writing you the check. The fact that you failed to cash it will work against you. The guy probably does not want to write you a new check because the business has been wound down. That's WHY there is a time limit.

Unfortunately I don't think you have much recourse. Even if you did get lawyers involved I really don't think you'd prevail.

Good luck to you.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:55 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:32 am
Posts: 2
Thanks,

I should mention that the parent company that wrote the check still functions and my account with the previous program has not been closed, I can still view balances, amounts owing, etc. He was very enthusiastic to assist, and said he will see to getting a check reissued asap, until I told him the amount,and then I never heard from him again, calls were never answered, emails ignored. As for the time limit on checks, I have heard, that it is not set in stone (180 days or less) and up to the bank where the check is to be deposited? I have heard many times that checks have been successfully deposited a year or more after being issued. In any event, thanks for the reply.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:05 am 
Moderator

Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5205
After a little bit of research I found that this is governed not so much by law but rather by bank oversight. Banks do have some leeway on this but essentially they must abide by the policies of their supervising agency. For a nationally chartered US bank it will be the regional Federal Reserve Bank. So there could be some variation and discretion involved but generally speaking you'd need to work with your bank to get them to accept it.

If, as you say, the parent company is still operating and if the account that the check was drawn on is still open then you might get paid. What you might want to do is see if your bank will accept it and hold the funds for 90 days or something until the check has fully cleared the system. Basically you need to eliminate any risk for the bank.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:24 pm
Posts: 88
Our experience (with still-open accounts) both cashing & writing checks is that the banks tend to honor stale checks on a regular basis. Especially when you don't want them to! However if the account that the check was written on was closed, that could be an issue.

If the money is important to you and you have some spare time, would small claims court be an option? I am guessing the limit might be lower than the whole amount of the check, but it might get you some $ back if you were allowed to sue the parent company and prevailed...ask someone local and legally informed before pursuing that, I really don't know the ins & outs, just a random idea. Also not sure if there's some statute of limitations that would create a time issue...


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:57 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:33 am
Posts: 107
You aren't out of luck. If they owed you money 10 years ago, they still owe it to you today. It is irrelevant whether or not the check is stale.

If the check went un-cashed for an extended period the company is legally obligated to turn over the funds to the state's "unclaimed funds" department. They are called "escheat laws."

My wife had a small paycheck (<$50) that was either lost or never cashed several years ago. The company doesn't get to just take the money back and give each other "high-fives" for her misfortune. Instead, they turned the money over to the state and we were able to recover the lost check.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:13 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
bill o wrote:
You aren't out of luck. If they owed you money 10 years ago, they still owe it to you today. It is irrelevant whether or not the check is stale.

If the check went un-cashed for an extended period the company is legally obligated to turn over the funds to the state's "unclaimed funds" department. They are called "escheat laws."

My wife had a small paycheck (<$50) that was either lost or never cashed several years ago. The company doesn't get to just take the money back and give each other "high-fives" for her misfortune. Instead, they turned the money over to the state and we were able to recover the lost check.



I recently helped my father claim some money he was due from years ago (over 10 yrs) from different sources jobs and such.

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


Top
Offline Profile   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:16 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
there is some leeway with the banks, but if you are past a year you are out of luck for cashing check. Doesn't absolve them of the money they owe you. As long as the company isn't bankrupt or dissolved in some way, I would recontact and ask them to re-issue check. If they refuse, take them to small claims court. Small claims court cost you maybe up to $100 (no lawyers needed). I'm not sure what the limits are but that may be your best bet for recovering at least a portion of the money.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:29 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5205
I'm not so sure about some of the comments here...

The bottom line is that the company paid the OP. He then failed to cash the check. The company did its part in the transaction so I'm at a loss to figure our what law would require them to pay again.

I don't know why escheat would apply here. In the case of the paycheck, well that is sometimes different. In my state for example, payroll money must be held in the county where a worker is employed in advance of each 2-week period (and workers must be paid at least every 16 days). The state can seize company assets fairly easily to satisfy money owed to employees. A similar process dealing with employee wages might be called escheat in your state. But this is not an employee issue. This is a contract issue. I see no way that the state would get involved in a contractual issue between two private parties except through the courts. It seems preposterous to me that the state would even have any authority to do something like that. I would thumb my nose at them on principle if they tried to intervene is I were the company in this case.

The reality is that the company paid the debt. The fact that the OP did not deposit the check and perfect the transaction is not something that would be held against the company.

It's a tough lesson to learn. I do have sympathy. And I do think the company should do the right thing and issue a new check. But I really don't see how the OP has much of a legal case to get paid at this point.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
I disagree. If he can prove the debt has not been paid, the debt still stands. This is separate from whether a bank will cash the check. His beef is with the company that still owe and need to pay him for services rendered (essentially a paycheck).
Otherwise businesses can save a lot of money by sending checks (including final paychecks) to slightly wrong addresses and then saying, you didn't deposit the check in time, you are out of luck!
I think the company is hoping he doesn't know his rights and drops it. He needs to send them written notification, mail the uncashed check back to them certified mail (after making himself a copy) and let them know if he is not issued another check he will pursue small claims court.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:30 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5205
partgypsy1 wrote:
I disagree. If he can prove the debt has not been paid, the debt still stands. Otherwise businesses can save a lot of money by sending checks to slightly wrong addresses and then saying, you didn't deposit the check in time, you are out of luck! I think the company is hoping he doesn't know his rights and drops it. He needs to send them written notification, mail the uncashed check back to them certified mail (after making himself a copy) and let them know if he is not issued another check he will pursue small claims court.


But the debt was paid. He received a good check. The situation is really no different than if he were paid in cash and then lost it.

I am sympathetic to the situation. But I think the chances of prevailing are very slim. I can't imagine what the claim would be in small claims court. He can't claim the company didn't pay him because they did and he admits that. The company did not play some game like sending it to the wrong address. In order to win in court you need to have a valid legal theory and facts to support your claim. From what has been said I just don't see that the facts support forcing the company to do anything. They SHOULD issue a new check but a judge would have little or no grounds on which to force them to do it.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1557
Location: Seattle, WA
DoingHomework wrote:
But the debt was paid. He received a good check. The situation is really no different than if he were paid in cash and then lost it.


How is the debt paid? He did not receive any money. He received a piece of paper which could have been exchanged for money, but was not.

Probably the cheapest or at least easiest thing to try would be to deposit the check. Either it will be cashed or it won't. If it is denied then you might get charged a bad check fee, $20 to $35 - far cheaper than hiring a lawyer or filing in small claims court. If it is, pretend that the money is not there for at least a few weeks, because by law your bank has to let you access the money after certain number of days, whether they have received it or not, but they can take it back if the check eventually comes back bad.


Top
Offline Profile   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1059
Location: Illinois
stannius wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
But the debt was paid. He received a good check. The situation is really no different than if he were paid in cash and then lost it.


How is the debt paid? He did not receive any money. He received a piece of paper which could have been exchanged for money, but was not.

Because giving someone a check (assuming there is money in the account to cover it) is considered paying. The company did their part. The poster failed to cash the check. That's not the company's fault. There is no legal theory that I know of that allows someone to fail to cash a check for years and then recover against the issuer, but I can see the doctrine of laches being used very effectively as a defense.

There is a reason the law provides checks are only valid for 6 months (unless a shorter time is specified on the check). It really is a case of "you snooze, you lose." No one would ever write a check if they knew the payee could hang onto it for years and years and cash it whenever (and sue if they screw up and lose it), leaving the issuer to keep track of all the uncashed checks indefinitely.


Top
Offline Profile   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:19 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:33 am
Posts: 107
bpgui wrote:
There is a reason the law provides checks are only valid for 6 months (unless a shorter time is specified on the check). It really is a case of "you snooze, you lose." No one would ever write a check if they knew the payee could hang onto it for years and years and cash it whenever (and sue if they screw up and lose it), leaving the issuer to keep track of all the uncashed checks indefinitely.


After six months the check is void and it comes off their checkbook register and goes back to a liability account. It is still a liability of the company. There is no doubt that not cashing the check is incredibly dumb, but it doesn't absolve the company of paying their debts.

The United States Treasury is tracking millions in un-cashed refund checks. When the check is void they don't just steal the refund money back...They continue to try to deliver the funds.


Top
Offline Profile E-mail   
 Post subject: Re: Anything can be done about 'stale' check?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1059
Location: Illinois
bill o wrote:
The United States Treasury is tracking millions in un-cashed refund checks. When the check is void they don't just steal the refund money back...They continue to try to deliver the funds.

That's the Treasury, not a company. There isn't any requirement for companies (or individuals) to do that.


Top
Offline Profile   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Moderators: bpgui, JerichoHill Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], LeRainDrop, markr867 and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Theme created StylerBB.net & kodeki