Stale check question

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dukebound85, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #1
    So I had gotten my taxes done in late march/early april of this year. I had wrote my tax preparer a check for the amt is due and time goes on and I go about my merry way.

    Well in that time, apparently they had never cashed my check after over 6months. In the event that they are unable to cash it due to it being stale in the eyes of the bank, is it ethically correct to go other to there place (30 min away) and write them a new one? Or should I have the mindset that it is their responsibility to cash it before it becomes stale and is no fault of my own? As I had just found out about this within the week, it does through off my budget due to their inability to promptly and respectfully cash a check in due time. Same logic as paychecks being void after 3 months.

    Anyways, I was curious as to the community's thought here. What would you do?

    In the event the bank deems it stale, could they potentially sue me for the amt?
     
  2. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

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    #2
    I used to work at a bank and find that all of them have varying policies on what stale dated means. Technically a check is never bad as long as the account supporting it has funds and it doesn't show a conditional statement that would void it after a certain period. Most backs just treat them as stale dated after 6-12 months because the odds are that the account its drawn on can't support it. I would call the person and tell them they have a couple days to cash it or you'll put a stop payment on it.
     
  3. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
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    Milwaukee, WI
    #3
    Well, it costs you to put a stop payment on the check. In that event, tell them you will drop in (if that's possible) and give them cash, minus the fee the bank charges you.
     
  4. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #4
    no they should send somebody over to you to pick up a new check......it's not your fault they didn't cash it in a timely manner! Or mail them the check!

    they did the work so you do owe them the money
     
  5. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #5
    May want to take your business elsewhere in the future. They can do your taxes but they can't cash a check within 6 months?
     
  6. snberk103, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011

    snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #6
    I am surprised there is any question here.

    They did they work. You owe them for the work. Pay them.

    So they screwed up, it happens. Even to me....

    Turn this around... if you found out that your employee had made an honest mistake, and had underpaid you for 20 hours - a year ago - and you hadn't noticed, do they get to say "Oh well, it's been a year and you never noticed... we get to keep the money?" No.

    You certainly don't have to go out of your way to get to the preparer's place. Have them pop the cheque in the mail for you to amend. If you don't have the funds at the moment (you don't balance your chequebook, it seems) then I also believe you can ask to pay the amount over time. Make an offer to them that is reasonable. At that point, even if they get shirty and want to take you to court or to collections you are very firm ground. You'll still need to pay the debt, but at this point it will be on your terms, not theirs. But I suspect they'll accept a reasonable payment schedule. After all, they did your taxes - they'll know what your income is....

    Luck

    PS: The question I am surprised at is " ... is it ethically correct to go other to there place (30 min away) and write them a new one? Or should I have the mindset that it is their responsibility to cash it before it becomes stale ... ?"
     
  7. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #7
    I don't think that's a fair assumption to make at all based off his question. Perhaps he's trying to switch banks? I'm leaving Wank of America because of their new ridiculous debit card fee, and I'm not sure what I would do if I had this 6 month old check written on my BoA account that hasn't been cashed. I couldn't close the account because what if 6 more months after I close it, they try to deposit the check? He's asking a completely valid question IMO and I don't think it's fair to assume he's not balancing his checkbook.
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #8
    I should have been clearer - I was surprised at the "ethics" question. I've updated my post to clarify. Thanks for pointing it out. If he had been balancing his cheque book he would have known the cheque was outstanding a month and a bit after it was written, and not been surprised by it 6 months later, and - in fact - would have had the funds in his account if he was spending only what his own balance indicated, and not the bank statement balance.

    Full Disclosure - I don't balance my cheque book either. But if someone does come to me to renew a stale cheque, I don't ask whether I'm ethically obligated to pay them - I just confirm it's a valid debt and pay them. As indicated above though, I let them incur all the trouble of getting them a new cheque. I may owe them money, but I don't have to reward them for being idiots.
     
  9. dukebound85, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011

    dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #9
    My issue is not paying them. It is rather the fact that I had written a check and gone through the trouble of giving it to them before.

    I am not in the mindset that I feel that I should need to go over to their place of business due to a mishap on them not managing their finances promptly.

    In regards to ethics, why is it surprising to that I think this? I am not questioning the debt, but my method of payment does have a contingency on it of drawing from my account or risk not having it honored and they accepted this when they took my check no? If this were not the case, then why are there laws on stale checks that banks follow?

    On a similar note, please answer me this, I get paychecks that say void in 90 days. If I do not cash it within that time period, is the company's fault that I would not get paid? or would I still be entitled to the amt of the paycheck after the voided period?

    While I don't deny they provided me service, if there are technicalities that relieve me of this debt, great. Lord knows how I have been forced by little technicalities to pay things in the past.
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #10
    Because, if you don't cash a pay-cheque within 90 days, you are obviously dead.
     
  11. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #11
    Do your checks have 'Void After 90 Days' printed anywhere on them? ;)
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #12

    I believe we are not looking at what the word "ethics" means the same way. I'm not going to go to the dictionary - because I'm not trying to "prove" what the definition means. Lets just accept that we are using the word differently.

    I agree that you should not have to out of your way to get a new cheque to them. They screwed up, they get to pay a "stupid tax" by having to pay their own costs to get a new cheque. I also think that if they have waited this long to get paid, they can wait a little bit longer to get paid if it is a serious hardship on you. It is up to you, however, to propose a reasonable payment schedule. This is simply because it's better for you to dictate the terms and make them respond to those terms rather than you having to respond to their proposed terms. I'm pretty sure you will like your terms better than theirs! :)

    I also don't believe you owe interest, either on this amount or on any repayment schedule. However, the law may think differently - you need to check this out. There should be free on-line information on your state, territory, or provincial consumer affairs website.

    I do believe you absolutely owe them the money, and that you need to pay them as promptly as possible. Note that "... promptly as possible." does not necessarily mean "immediately."

    I don't know about where you live, but where I live the employer owes you for the time you worked. Period. If you forget to cash a cheque, they will have to reissue one for you. They don't have to do it "immediately", just "... as promptly as possible." If they were nice they would even mail it to you. Otherwise you would either need to go into the office to sign some unnecessary paperwork, or arrange to pay for a courier. In this case, you would be the one paying the "stupid tax."
     
  13. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #13
    Ah gotcha. Well I had responded to their email asking if it were safe to cashby saying yes. However, if the bank doesn't honor it due to it being stale, then they will have to come out of their way and get a new check from me.

    I sure won't be taking time out of my day for this
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
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    #14
    At least they called 1st... if they had just cashed it and it had bounced, they may have then tried to collect the NSF charges!

    In that case, regardless of who is right, it's a huge pain in the neck. Nobody is happy, people are stressed. It's just nasty.

    At least this way, you have basically borrowed their money for 6 months interest free. That's not actually a bad thing, in my books. I wish more people would lend me money with 0% interest, eh?

    If the bank won't honour the cheque it should be easy enough for the firm to mail your old check back to you so you can rip it up. Ask them for a pre-stamped, self-addressed envelope to be included. Then all you have to do is write a new cheque, pop it into the envelope, walk around for a few days with the envelope in your pocket, perhaps until the next paycheque is deposited.... and then mail it.

    Glad it worked out.
     
  15. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #15
    You owe them the money and should pay. They should accommodate you and come to you or take a discounted rate because of your time and effort.

    I don't call into question your balancing skills. I think that's stupid. I do question how you could not know this check was still outstanding. I balance my finances all of the time but I also take that extra step to ensure there are no outstanding checks. I think the kid that said you weren't balancing your check book was inferring that you didn't because you said it would throw your budget off. If it does that then I too could assume you're not balancing your check book as you should.

    Either way, ethically you owe the funds. You have no legal grounds to say that the check is stale dated after a certain date. However, your bank may and that is the leg you could stand on. I would just pay them though and be done with it. I doubt I'd even give it this much thought tbh.
     
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    Hey! I ain't no kid! But thanks for thinking so.... :D
     
  17. dukebound85, Oct 27, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011

    dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #17
    so apparently they altered the date on the check from 4/3/11 to 9/3/11

    Is this not check fraud?

    I am kinda pissed

    here is a draft of an email I am about to send them in the next day or so

    I am somewhat tempted to notify my bank and/or the colorado board of accountancy but leaning towards just leaving it at the email.....


    grinds my gears
     
  18. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #18
    That's a major no-no, and a group of accountants should definitely know better.

    To be honest, if was in your position, I would have been willing to send them a new check (but not waste my time and money going to them-they can come to me), but the moment someone decides to commit a federal crime to cover up their laziness, the gloves are off.

    Find out what your bank's policy is on stale checks. Some are very strict and honor personal checks to the minimum required by law (I think the UCC used to say this was 180 days, but it might have been changed recently to a shorter minimum period) while others will show discretion based on the circumstances.

    They clearly changed the date because they realized that they were beyond the 6 month window and could potentially face a stop payment. That doesn't excuse committing fraud though.
     
  19. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #19
    would you let it slide as I did indeed owe them or do you think I should contact my bank as they willingly forged information on my check?
     
  20. ebteksystems macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #20
    I'd talk to the bank, but it will be a hassle for sure.
     
  21. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #21
    Here is an image of the alteration that was posted on my bank account when the check was deposited

    My 4 was effectively changed to a 9
     
  22. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #22
    Contact the bank. They probably have to report it as check fraud. My personal hunch is that these losers have probably done similar things before.

    See that's just a purely wrong way to fix something that is the payee's fault. You can't go around changing check information. Unless you're DiCaprio playing a suave 60s conman.
     
  23. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #23
    Slow down guys. What if their usual, friendly, bank-teller did it? How do you know?
     
  24. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #24
    Contact the bank. Changing something on the check crosses the line. They may have taken it to the bank, where it was rejected, changed the date and tried again later. If they are willing to change the date, why not the amount?

    Bank video would show it if it was done at the counter.
     
  25. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
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    #25
    Good Heavens.... move on..... You acknowledged that the debt was valid, they've been paid ... now get on with your life. At least they had the courtesy to call and check with you before cashing the cheque. They didn't have to do that - it is up to you to ensure that there are sufficient funds to cover your own outstanding cheques.

    So they altered the date on a cheque.... yes, it's no-no. But it's not as if they added a zero to the $amount. You were aware that they were going to cash the cheque, and they did.

    Before you get on your high horse, think back....

    Have you never ever ever accepted cash in your business for a really small job and just put into petty cash instead of declaring it on your taxes? Not with the intention of committing fraud, but because it was just too much trouble to go through the paperwork? Have you never ever ever bought a bunch office supplies for your business, and included something small for personal use - not because you mean to commit a federal crime, but because you were tired, and there was a line behind you, and you didn't feel like asking the cashier to ring the personal item separately?

    Unless your business books can be audited by St Peter and come out squeaky clean just move on. If you don't trust the firm anymore, that's fine... but just move on.... seriously. There are more important things to do.... like posting on MacRumours, eh!?
     

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