Bad check

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by muddstopper, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I recieved a bad check in the amount of $2600 a few weeks ago. The check was from a regular repeat customer that has always paid me in advance. Never had any problems out of them before. When I called about the check they claimed that they had gotten their check book stolen and somebody had written a lot of big checks on their account. They had also had some equipment stolen and they would make the check good in a couple of weeks If I would just hold onto it. I know for a fact that there have been several houses broke into in their area so I figure they are telling the truth. I have also known these people for a long time and poor they are not. I didnt mind waiting on my money for a few weeks, its not like its going to break me, but it is my money. I have talked to them twice since the first call notifying them I had the bounced check, both times they assured me they would have my money by the end of the week. Both weeks passed and no money. My question is, just how much time should I give them to make good on the check. I have done several thousand $$ of work for them in the past and would hate to lose their business just because I was a little impatient. At the same time, I dont like doing work and not getting paid. Im not ready to pull a Bobby yet but my wife is polishing up the shovel and pick handle.
     
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I would have to say to be patient. The wealthy type of people who have the big houses, the nice cars, the toys, etc., are ususlly in debt up to their ears. It's bad that they are already out a whole peck of money, but that is their problem and they are handling it. It's not like you are seeing them going out and making new big purchases or anything on your money. It is unfortunate, but hang in there, and they wil appreciate it all the more. It sounds like these people have been good customers over the years. I wouldn't rattle the cage over one hardship they are going through. Like I say, they are reassuring you that you WILL be taken care of, and again, it's not like they are splurging on your money.
     
  3. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    What Joe said, and I'd call their bank and ask them to notify you when the check can clear ..I would also add returned check fees(charged to you by your bank + a return check fee of your own) to them and possibly a late fee as well(depending on when and if it clears). They have to understand their "misfortune" is not your problem, you have a business to run, and depend on the outstanding liabilities to run it...JMO
     
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Wait a minute......Something doesn't add up here. They wrote you the check. Is the check they wrote you from the same account that the book was stolen???
    If someone gets their checkbook stolen, what's the first thing that happens? The account gets cancelled! Unless when they told you to hold on to their check, it was just as an "insurance" for you. Anyway, bottom line is,..they will DEFinitely be having to issue you another check, if this check you have was drawn off the same account as the one the book was stolen from.
     
  5. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    I would call every week. Squeeky wheel gets the most oil. I would tell them it's policy, and keep following up and checking the statis. You shouldn't feel bad, it is your money and the job was done. your entitled to it. :)
     
  6. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    You said they always pay you "in advance". So what's the big deal? Just don't do any more work til you get the check. If its for work you haven't even done yet, I wouldn't get too worked up.
     
  7. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I would be sort of patient. I dont know where transision zone is, but in most places a $2600 check is a serious felony, so if push comes to shovel, you have some bargaining power.
     
  8. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    I would give them 30 days to make that payment. That is more than enough time to get things straitened out. You are not a doormat. I agree to be patient only to a point. If you let them continue to put you off, they will. Give them a deadline. If they don't pay, take legal action. Something sounds fishy about this.
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Yes the check was on the same account as the checkbook that was stolen.
    Yes they closed that account.
    Yes the work has been completed, the check ws deposited and several days later is when I found out it bounced.
    And Yes, a $2600 bad check is a felony in NC.
    I can get nasty about the check and get my money or their butts in jail. Or I can wait it out and not lose their business as I feel they will pay. They have several thousand $$ of work that they will need done in the future. I would rather work this out between them and me but my bills come due each month too. Giving them a deadline will probably be my next step. If that dont work then its off to the courthouse. They have about 400 acres they are developing that this work was performed on. A good lein will get their attention.
     
  10. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    Here's the steps that you should take. To protect yourself, send them a 10 day certified demand letter as required by NC law. Also put a note in with the letter that you are just following the required steps to protect yourself. You don't want to come off like an jerk.

    Call the bank and verify that they had this problem. There should be a bank officer that can confirm this for you. They may also give you the option of placing the check for "collection" with the bank. As soon as the funds become available they will call you and issue you a cashiers check and you can pick it up.

    Be professional about the whole thing. The bank can take up to 30 days to refund the missing money by law. However, you also need to protect you position and therefore that's the reason you need to send the certified letter. If after 30 days you do not have a resolve to this check then take it down to the Magistrate's Office there and take out a warrant.

    It is a shame that these steps have to be taken. Explain to the customer that you do own the business and this is strictly a business decision and nothing personal. Using the right tact you will preserve the customers relationship for future business as well as protect your collection abilities should it go that direction.
     

Share This Page