Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

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WhyNotKnow
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Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by WhyNotKnow »

My Mom wrote a check to pay for plumbing service at her home in 2017. They called and said the employee had lost the check so she put a stop on that check and sent another to pay in full.
Just recently her credit union distributed the funds to pay on the stopped check.
When my sister took her to the local branch yesterday she was told a stop is only valid for six months, after that the check is valid.
They also told her that the credit union itself has no responsibility in this issue.
She’s calling higher up the line at the credit union today.

Would appreciate any advice from the Bogleheads.
Thanks
niceguy7376
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by niceguy7376 »

What was the date on the check? Isnt there a timeframe of validity from when the check was written (like 90 days or 6 months)?
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dm200
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by dm200 »

WhyNotKnow wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:26 am My Mom wrote a check to pay for plumbing service at her home in 2017. They called and said the employee had lost the check so she put a stop on that check and sent another to pay in full.
Just recently her credit union distributed the funds to pay on the stopped check.
When my sister took her to the local branch yesterday she was told a stop is only valid for six months, after that the check is valid.
They also told her that the credit union itself has no responsibility in this issue.
She’s calling higher up the line at the credit union today.
Would appreciate any advice from the Bogleheads.
Thanks
I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months.

I believe her best recourse is with the plumbing service, since they were paid twice for the same service. It is entirely possible that this was just some kind of clerical error at the plumbing service. With 20/20 hindsight, what she should have done is to have gotten, in writing from the plumbing service, a written certification that the check was lost and, if found, would be returned to her.
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prudent
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by prudent »

No reason to expect the plumber won't do the right thing once the issue is explained.
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WhyNotKnow
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by WhyNotKnow »

I would think so, however I’ll have to find that out.
My Mom is pretty stubborn so I’ll probably have to wait until she has done what she can. The check is $110.00 so not a major issue. All depends on how irritated she gets with the process.
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dm200
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by dm200 »

prudent wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:33 am No reason to expect the plumber won't do the right thing once the issue is explained.
I tend to agree as well.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by chessknt »

So what is the best course of action to take if you want a check that is no longer in your possession to never be cashed if a stop pay doesn't work past 6 months? Close the account?
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JoMoney
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by JoMoney »

chessknt wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:45 am So what is the best course of action to take if you want a check that is no longer in your possession to never be cashed if a stop pay doesn't work past 6 months? Close the account?
It can get complicated, but even if the account is closed, someone might still cash the check and could create a problem that involves further action... It's even possible that a bank would honor an old check if you merely changed account numbers at the same bank.
Hopefully if you closed the account, the check would bounce, and then you would have to deal with the person you wrote the check to and dispute whether or not the money is owed to them.
Some people will write things on the check like "Void after 90 days" or something similar. There's no guarantees that "void" will be honored by the bank, but it might, and it might help your case in the dispute with whoever the check was written too.
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dm200
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by dm200 »

JoMoney wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:06 am
chessknt wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:45 am So what is the best course of action to take if you want a check that is no longer in your possession to never be cashed if a stop pay doesn't work past 6 months? Close the account?
It can get complicated, but even if the account is closed, someone might still cash the check and could create a problem that involves further action... It's even possible that a bank would honor an old check if you merely changed account numbers at the same bank.
Hopefully if you closed the account, the check would bounce, and then you would have to deal with the person you wrote the check to and dispute whether or not the money is owed to them.
Some people will write things on the check like "Void after 90 days" or something similar. There's no guarantees that "void" will be honored by the bank, but it might, and it might help your case in the dispute with whoever the check was written too.
You could also have that "Void After 90 Days" pre=printed on the checks
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by 8foot7 »

chessknt wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:45 am So what is the best course of action to take if you want a check that is no longer in your possession to never be cashed if a stop pay doesn't work past 6 months? Close the account?
Yes. Stop payments solve an immediate problem at a pretty high cost for a service with an expiration date. They’re meant for you to be able to retrieve your original (or returned) check after settling your dispute while preventing funds from being paid during original presentment. If you aren’t able to get your check back, the only way to eliminate the risk of it being paid other than continuously renewing the stop order is to close the account. If the bank pays a check on a closed account then it’s the bank’s money involved, not yours. If the bank somehow reopens a closed account with zero balance to pay a stale check, I think you need a better bank and/or some well placed complaints on o relevant regulatory agencies.

The mother in this case can sue the plumber in small claims if the plumber won’t play ball as long as she has the proof of replacement payment in 2017 that settled original charges. She could reclaim for court costs as well but for $110 I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle. Although the principle of the situation to a retired person may be sufficient ;)
Last edited by 8foot7 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
sketchy9
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by sketchy9 »

I never knew about the 6 month time limit. What a crock. One more reson to ditch this antiquated payment method IMO.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by ResearchMed »

8foot7 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:10 am
chessknt wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:45 am So what is the best course of action to take if you want a check that is no longer in your possession to never be cashed if a stop pay doesn't work past 6 months? Close the account?
Yes. Stop payments solve an immediate problem at a pretty high cost for a service with an expiration date. They’re meant for you to be able to retrieve your original (or returned) check after settling your dispute while preventing funds from being paid during original presentment. If you aren’t able to get your check back, the only way to eliminate the risk of it being paid other than continuously renewing the stop order is to close the account. If the bank pays a check on a closed account then it’s the bank’s money involved, not yours.

The mother in this case can sue the plumber in small claims if the plumber won’t play ball as long as she has the proof of replacement payment in 2017 that settled original charges. She could reclaim for court costs as well but for $110 I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle. Although the principle of the situation to a retired person may be sufficient ;)
IF mother has proof of other payment (a second cashed check) and there is NO other work the plumber could claim the second payment was for, etc., then in a "consumer" case like this, if the state has treble damages for consumer fraud, then mumbling those endearing words to the plumber may get the money back.

But this assumes that the plumber refused to refund the money!
There could be a good chance that the check slipped behind something, and was found recently and no one even looked at the payor or date, etc.
In that type of case, the plumber should be comfortable refunding.

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JoMoney
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by JoMoney »

sketchy9 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:11 am I never knew about the 6 month time limit. What a crock. One more reson to ditch this antiquated payment method IMO.
FWIW, I believe it's the case that many/most banks won't accept a check older than 6 months, but the obligation isn't really on the bank. If you have a written agreement to pay someone a certain amount of money, the bank is just honoring it*. There are disputes from people setting up electronic bill pay and getting double billed by the payee as well.

* I've heard stories that long ago checks could be written on anything, no special paper or electronic coding... There are banks (or were.. haven't really looked recently) that will still accept non-standard checks, literally written on anything, but most will charge additional fees for the "convenience" of allowing you to write a "check" that doesn't conform to the electronic processing standards.

----
Edit to add... When I was initially thinking about this, my consideration was focused on the idea that we should continue to have payment methods that don't require functioning electronic networks, and checks do that, but when I think about it more - I'm not sure they do any longer. Many places will only accept a check if they can verify it through electronic checking services, and I don't believe any bank will even honor a check written to a non-customer of that bank anymore (you have to go through your own bank to deposit/cash a check)... It used to be you could walk into whatever bank the check writer had their account with and demand payment... but since that really isn't the case any longer, maybe consumer checking accounts really are "antiquated"...
Last edited by JoMoney on Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Credit union stop payment good for 6 months, pay fee again, good for another 6 months.... The fees can really mount.

My credit union rates:
Stop Payment (Check or ACH) $35.00
Stop Payment Removal $10.00

Fortunately I write very few checks, I would rather charge a payment if it is possible and I don't incur a fee.

I can see how the plumbing company could simply make their normal deposit activities, however when their bookkeeper settled accounts one would hope the error would be found, and the customer notified they would be receiving a refund.

It is possible the deposits are made daily, and the statements/bookkeeping is done monthly, so there could be a legitimate bit of lag time.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: I give my aides Christmas bonuses/gifts whatever, and they would take months to cash my check. I believe in lower-income households it isn't that unusual from them to have no banking accounts. So now it is cash for my aides. I run my checking account pretty lean and I couldn't do that when I didn't know when the spirit would strike them to cash my check. Too much mental accounting.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by Gill »

dm200 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:31 am
WhyNotKnow wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:26 am My Mom wrote a check to pay for plumbing service at her home in 2017. They called and said the employee had lost the check so she put a stop on that check and sent another to pay in full.
Just recently her credit union distributed the funds to pay on the stopped check.
When my sister took her to the local branch yesterday she was told a stop is only valid for six months, after that the check is valid.
They also told her that the credit union itself has no responsibility in this issue.
She’s calling higher up the line at the credit union today.
Would appreciate any advice from the Bogleheads.
Thanks
I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months.

I believe her best recourse is with the plumbing service, since they were paid twice for the same service. It is entirely possible that this was just some kind of clerical error at the plumbing service. With 20/20 hindsight, what she should have done is to have gotten, in writing from the plumbing service, a written certification that the check was lost and, if found, would be returned to her.
I'm long removed from Commercial Law courses and banking practice, but what happened to the concept of a check being stale dated? My understanding has been that a check is a demand instrument instructing the bank to pay on presentation and is meant to be an immediate source of payment, not six months hence. For that reason I believe a bank should not honor a check dated six months prior to presentation as it is considered stale dated. Is that correct under the Uniform Commercial Code without me doing any further research?
Gill
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WhyNotKnow
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Update: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by WhyNotKnow »

Mom spoke to the Credit Union management, they confirmed that a stop order on a check expires at six months. On review management apologized stating that the issue was not handled properly at the local branch, they should have helped her file a dispute.
Management then explained that checks that are more than a year out of date are “stale dated” and should have never been cashed by Chase.
They will start the process Monday morning for Chase to return the funds to my Mom’s account.
What I found interesting is it appears the check was cashed and not deposited to an account.

While I would tend to agree on the plumbing company correcting the issue this is not one she uses regularly and they have shown problematic issues dealing with follow up services on their work.

Thanks everyone.
And thanks to the moderators for providing this forum.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by nisiprius »

dm200 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:31 am...I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months...
I didn't know that, either. I've stopped checks a couple of times and all I can say is that I sure don't remember this being explained to me. But what's the time limit on the check itself? Wouldn't the check itself be invalid after six months anyway, unless it says something else on it?

I think banks get away with being irresponsible with regard to a) bouncing good checks, and b) honoring bad ones.
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Re: Update: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by ResearchMed »

WhyNotKnow wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:07 am Mom spoke to the Credit Union management, they confirmed that a stop order on a check expires at six months. On review management apologized stating that the issue was not handled properly at the local branch, they should have helped her file a dispute.
Management then explained that checks that are more than a year out of date are “stale dated” and should have never been cashed by Chase.
They will start the process Monday morning for Chase to return the funds to my Mom’s account.
What I found interesting is it appears the check was cashed and not deposited to an account.

While I would tend to agree on the plumbing company correcting the issue this is not one she uses regularly and they have shown problematic issues dealing with follow up services on their work.

Thanks everyone.
And thanks to the moderators for providing this forum.
Don't want to stir the pot here, but an alarm bell just went off, given this is not her usual vendor.

ANY chance that this is some semi-fly-by-night company that, er, "does this" (hold old checks, and after being paid with a new check, LATER casually "cash" the old check?

What jumped out at me is the "cashed the check", rather than a regular "company depositing the week's/month's checks, etc."

Are they doing this occasionally? More than occasionally?
Interesting......

IF they get "caught", it's an "oops - sorry".
IF they don't, it's... money...

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prudent
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by prudent »

I remember going through our bank's checking T&Cs a while ago. It stated I agree they can cash stale checks, post-dated checks before the date on the check, and unsigned checks on my account if I wrote the checks. I figured that was their defense for all checks being processed by machine.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by walkabout »

This reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry cashes/deposits a bunch of birthday checks he had received from his grandmother over the years. This caused his grandmother’s account to be overdrawn. I guess that neither Jerry’s bank nor his grandmother’s honored the stale date concept.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by student »

prudent wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:25 am I remember going through our bank's checking T&Cs a while ago. It stated I agree they can cash stale checks, post-dated checks before the date on the check, and unsigned checks on my account if I wrote the checks. I figured that was their defense for all checks being processed by machine.
I knew about banks will process post-dated checks before the date on the check but unsigned checks on one's account if one wrote the checks sounds scary. I suppose the keywords here is "if one wrote the checks."
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by 8foot7 »

The T&Cs of most banks pretty much hold the banks harmless for processing just about anythjng. Stale, old, unsigned, not endorsed, signed with the wrong name, created remotely and unsigned, preprinted restrictions, restrictive endorsements, anything. If you look closely I suspect you’ll find your bank has carved out an exception to their being responsible for an error for just about everything.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by 7eight9 »

Gill wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:55 am
dm200 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:31 am
WhyNotKnow wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:26 am My Mom wrote a check to pay for plumbing service at her home in 2017. They called and said the employee had lost the check so she put a stop on that check and sent another to pay in full.
Just recently her credit union distributed the funds to pay on the stopped check.
When my sister took her to the local branch yesterday she was told a stop is only valid for six months, after that the check is valid.
They also told her that the credit union itself has no responsibility in this issue.
She’s calling higher up the line at the credit union today.
Would appreciate any advice from the Bogleheads.
Thanks
I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months.

I believe her best recourse is with the plumbing service, since they were paid twice for the same service. It is entirely possible that this was just some kind of clerical error at the plumbing service. With 20/20 hindsight, what she should have done is to have gotten, in writing from the plumbing service, a written certification that the check was lost and, if found, would be returned to her.
I'm long removed from Commercial Law courses and banking practice, but what happened to the concept of a check being stale dated? My understanding has been that a check is a demand instrument instructing the bank to pay on presentation and is meant to be an immediate source of payment, not six months hence. For that reason I believe a bank should not honor a check dated six months prior to presentation as it is considered stale dated. Is that correct under the Uniform Commercial Code without me doing any further research?
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§ 4-404. BANK NOT OBLIGED TO PAY CHECK MORE THAN SIX MONTHS OLD.
A bank is under no obligation to a customer having a checking account to pay a check, other than a certified check, which is presented more than six months after its date, but it may charge its customer's account for a payment made thereafter in good faith.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/4/4-404
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Re: Update: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by FireAway »

ResearchMed wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:11 am ANY chance that this is some semi-fly-by-night company that, er, "does this" (hold old checks, and after being paid with a new check, LATER casually "cash" the old check?
That's what I was thinking, except maybe it's just a single dishonest employee.

I would get the police involved here, there's a good chance it is fraud - you wrote a check, the company claimed it was lost, but held onto it and cashed it later. Could be a simple mistake, but let the police figure it out - maybe it's just one part of a pattern of behavior?
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by Thesaints »

the check was lost, right ? What if someone else cashed it, instead of the plumber ? Did the bank check ID ? Was the check deposited on someone's account ?
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Re: Update: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by fru-gal »

FireAway wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:37 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:11 am ANY chance that this is some semi-fly-by-night company that, er, "does this" (hold old checks, and after being paid with a new check, LATER casually "cash" the old check?
That's what I was thinking, except maybe it's just a single dishonest employee.

I would get the police involved here, there's a good chance it is fraud - you wrote a check, the company claimed it was lost, but held onto it and cashed it later. Could be a simple mistake, but let the police figure it out - maybe it's just one part of a pattern of behavior?
How about OP's Mom does the rational thing and calls the plumbing company before going ballistic?
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by Turbo29 »

Just for the heck of it, I looked up the deposit account agreement at one major bank.
4. Incomplete, future-dated, conditional or stale-dated checks You agree not to write a check that’s incomplete or tries to limit the time or method of payment with a condition, such as “Void after 180 days” or “Valid only for $1,000 or less.” We have no duty to discover, observe or comply with such checks. If we pay a conditional check, the conditions do not apply to us. We may choose to pay or not to pay a stale-dated check (dated more than six months before it is presented), regardless of how old it is. If we pay it, you will be responsible for the check. We may pay any future-dated check submitted for payment.
After reading this, it's obvious that issuing a post-dated check doesn't offer any protection from anything either.
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WhyNotKnow
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Re: Update: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by WhyNotKnow »

[/quote]

How about OP's Mom does the rational thing and calls the plumbing company before going ballistic
[/quote]

My Mom does not”go ballistic”.
She addressed the issue at the local credit union branch and when she called corporate the next morning they reviewed the contact there and apologized to my Mom, stating that the local branch did not follow proper protocol in correcting the situation.
She does not yell, get angry, insult people (hint,hint), she calmly states her case and if it’s not handled she takes the next step.

Thanks again (most) everyone for your help and advice.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by KATNYC »

That is pretty shocking. I knew a stop payment was good for 6 months but never considered an old check being cashed, especially after 2 years
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ResearchMed
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by ResearchMed »

Op, you might want to amend your title with "Problem Solved".

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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by whomever »

"The mother in this case can sue the plumber in small claims if the plumber won’t play ball as long as she has the proof of replacement payment in 2017 that settled original charges. She could reclaim for court costs as well but for $110 I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle."

Bold prediction: a credible intent to sue in small claims will result in the plumbing company producing the funds.

If they don't, go to small claims. Someone from the plumbing company will have to take time to go to court. With (I presume) documentary evidence like the cashed replacement check etc, you will win the amount of the check plus court fees. If they balk at paying the judgement, you hire the sheriff at their expense, show up at their place of business, and help yourself to enough tools or whatever to cover the bill, and sell those. They also pay for the deputy when you do that, plus additional fees, etc.

Small claims is useless for people who have no assets, but it's da bomb for a business with assets. And they know that - or you can explain it to them - and that gives them a powerful incentive to do the right thing before you file suit.

(What I learned from this: is Acme Inc calls up and says 'We lost the check, can you send another?' the correct response is 'Sure - as soon as you send me a letter explaining you lost the check and will return to me the original if it ever comes into your possession'. Because that letter, the cashed replacement, and the cashed original is exactly what you need for small claims.
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by burt »

dm200 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:31 am I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months.
That is absolutely remarkable!
Kind of like a recurring charge for a magazine subscription...even if you cancel the credit card.....charge goes to the new card.
How can this happen? (I think I know how).
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Re: Credit Union paid out on a stopped check from 2017

Post by Wakefield1 »

burt wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:35 pm
dm200 wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:31 am I am in this business - and it is correct that a stopped payment is only good for six months.
That is absolutely remarkable!
Kind of like a recurring charge for a magazine subscription...even if you cancel the credit card.....charge goes to the new card.
How can this happen? (I think I know how).
:!: I didn't know either-thought that a stop payment solved the problem-obviously not!
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