|Personal checks - do you accept them?|
I just had two checks from the same fellow for two different orders made on the same day returned by my bank with a $20 return fee on each one because he put a stop payment on the checks almost immediately after sending them. Didn't contact me, nothing. I have on my page that a check has to be deposited and clear before any merchandise is sent. Of course, this guy is not responding to emails or phone calls. I know I should just write it off, but I am so [ripped] that I have thought about putting up a page with his name and address on it, etc. Yeah, I know I shouldn't. Grrrr....
It makes me not want to take any personal checks. And nowadays a lot of banks will not let you call and see if there are sufficient funds to cover a check, so I have pretty much quit doing that.
What do you all do about vetting personal checks?
[edited by: lorax at 5:30 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2005]
[edit reason] edited for language [/edit]
1.) I'd stay away from the possible legal implications of publishing personal information. I remember a restaurant used to publicly display returned checks on a pin board behind the register. A lawyer bounced a check there.. You know the rest of the story...
2.) You can call banks, and insure that no "stop" has been issued on a check you have received.
Maybe you can only take checks from repeat customers. Never take from a new customer. Also you can have them send you a money order. I used to take checks from my ebay business and I never had a problem. Pay Pal is way more dangerous than checks. They will take your money and make you prove all kinds of things that are impossible to prove.
Instead of the paper checks, look into one of these third-party e-check outfits. Your bank may even offer the service in-house. It is an instant wire transfer-can't bounce.
Smart move, holding till clear. If you lose money to a dishonest person like this, ask your accountant about filing a 1099 form declaring the theft of services as income to the thief. When they fail to put this "income" on their tax return, it may trigger an audit. How cool is that? :)
"If you lose money to a dishonest person like this, ask your accountant about filing a 1099 form declaring the theft of services as income to the thief. When they fail to put this "income" on their tax return, it may trigger an audit."
Wow- I'm going to ask my accountant about that. How INCREDIBLY fun.
Nope - no personal checks accepted. Just postal money orders, cashier's checks, or bank checks.
most adults now have credit cards - there is no need to take cheques (or checks)
get people to pay online NOW - takes less than a minute and you've got the money - if you give them the option to pay by check, you are giving them a lot of time to change their mind ..........
|If you lose money to a dishonest person like this, ask your accountant about filing a 1099 form |
I'm not sure I follow that (it sounds a very good idea) - but the loss you face is a charge from your bank, not any gain for the dishonest person?
Also depends where you are ( tendency by many posters here to beleive we are all in the USA :)..
France you can have a little machine by the side of your computor or cash register ( if you are a bricks and mortar ) which scans the check in real time and tells you if funds are there or not ( or if the issuer is a known "kiter".and thus banned from having a check account ) ..or if the check is stolen ...stopping a check is a big no no and cant be done except in writing to the countries central bank " banque de France"..has huge penalties if you cant justify why you want to ..can make you barred from having a checking account for years ..
Plus we can't charge back on our credit cards ..whats paid for from your card is gone ..the goods never arrive ..customers problem ..take action either in the courts or via the police ..
In spite of all this ..I only ever take certified checks , wire transfers or letters of credit ( I write the text ) or cash ..
from France ..
From UK customers I will accept checks ( not company ) with the bank check guarrantee card number to back them.
Rest of the world ..credit cards ..charge backs are very small part of the total ..
Vince- that is an important clarification.
If the goods have not been shipped, the only loss would be the bank bounce charges. In this case, you might only proceed on the principle of the thing. Either way, an accountant and/or lawyer should be consulted on this.
Don't you need their social security number to file a 1099? I think so. Some people do put their SSN on a check, which to me is nuts, but these people didn't.
I feel like I need to accept checks for those individuals who do not use credit cards (there are some). In one of my niches, it is common to mail in a personal check for payment. I am also intending to expand the mail-order aspect of my business, so checks will become more important.
It turns out I have dealt with this fellow and his mother before. They did something similar a while ago, but I forgot about it, which is my fault. I think they are actually deranged--in a stupid way, not a dangerous way. It actually is a relief to me that it turns out to be them again. They are not my normal customer. But I would still like some better means for vetting checks before depositing them. I have had the experience of getting a $5.00 check that was no good.
Two names were on the checking account, hers and his. Can I report them to a credit agency for non-payment? I have never done anything like that before, but I feel like they need to get some consequences for this stuff. I am sure I am not the only merchant they have done this to.
I really don't know anything about this. I'm just wondering if you can't have someone draw you up some sales terms which say if the cheque bounces that they are liable for a charge of $XXX? Then file a claim against them for the sum if unpaid?
<possibly sexist remark>Since you mention there are two names on the account, try phoning and asking to speak to her. You may get a more sympathetic hearing!</remark>
The woman is actually the problem, not the man. The man placed the order online, signed the checks, mailed them in, and then subsequently emailed me several times about the order. The woman stopped payment on the checks. Neither of them ever called me about canceling the order. If they had, I would not have deposited the checks.
I actually do have a policy stated on the main page that I charge a fee of $25.00 for every check that is returned. Having that up there has really decreased the number of bad checks I get. I will now put it on the page that people print out to mail in with an order as well.
Just now I got a phone call from a relative of theirs who is a police chief in a nearby one-horse town. He threatened me and called me names. I have decided that I will indeed report this to the credit agencies. I don't even care if I have to pay to do so and if I have to pay to get their SSNs. I would get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
I have written them a nice business-like letter describing the total fees of $50 and asking for payment in 30 days. I guess that is sufficient.
Once car dealership I worked at, I was asked by the owner to call this one customer's bank and let the bank know that this customer kept putting stop-payments on checks to us (as they were making payments on an outstanding repair bill). From what I understand, their bank put a hold on their checking account and they were asked to close their account and go to another bank.
Yes, 30 days is very sufficient in most states. Afterwhich, you can file a judgement (most convenient if they are in the same state as you), report to the credit bureaus, and (if you wish) write a formal complaint with their bank complete with copies of the checks (if you have) and a detailed outline of the situation, including the police relative threatening, etc. BTW, I come from a cop family - you can start formal preceedings against that cop for abusing his position of authority. If this guy is a chief, then call another county police station and ask what they suggest for a course of action (just don't mention this guy's name just in case).
And like other's have suggested, perhaps just start accepting only money orders, certified checks, etc.
Best of luck with this situation.
Thanks very much, Barb. The info about the bank and the procedure about complaining against the chief of police is really helpful!
|"If you lose money to a dishonest person like this, ask your accountant about filing a 1099 form declaring the theft of services as income to the thief. When they fail to put this "income" on their tax return, it may trigger an audit." |
15 years ago I read an article about this. Seems some groups were filing frivolous 1099s just to get people in trouble with the IRS. For example, a 1099 showing $50 million in income to a political enemy. Some audits WERE created that way.
I too have thought about filing 1099s against professional check scammers. Crime is taxable in the U.S. Bank robbers are required to pay tax on loot. (otherwise crime would be a tax-favored activity)
I once called the IRS on this subject. Needless to say, the agent had never heard of filing a 1099 after a theft. But he did quote the regulations that indicated that a 1099 wasn't appropriate for that situation.
I'm not sure you'd need the SS#. If the amount is big enough, and you had other details such as the address, the IRS would look up the number.
I always thought it was a simple, delicious way to get revenge again those sleazes while adding a few bucks to the U.S. treasury.