• A bad check is a check that is deposited into your account, but has insufficient funds to cover the amount. The bank informs you the check is bad and may return the check to you with insufficient funds or NSF, which means the same as insufficient funds, stamped on it. You are charged a returned bank fee of anywhere from $25 to $40 for the paperwork involved in a bad check return. There are several ways you may go about collecting money on a bad check.

    Call Account Holder

    Call the individual or company that has sent you the bad check. It is possible that a deposit did not make it in time for the check to clear and the party would be willing to make good on the check and pay for your bank fees. If you cannot get in touch with the other party through the telephone, write a letter requesting your money. Send the letter certified with a return receipt so you have the documentation that the party received the letter.

    Call The Bank

    Keep in touch with the bank of the account holder and tell the clerk that you are holding a check from his bank and waiting for sufficient funding to cash it. The sender of the check may deposit funds into her account that will cover the check. As soon as the bank tells you the account has funds, go to the bank and cash the check. Ask the bank if it has enforced collection. Enforced collection puts your bad check in a special category and the next time funds are placed into the account, the monies are paid to you.


    Talk to your local prosecutor or lawyer about suing for lost funds from a bad check. Normally a written request is sent to the account holder and the prosecutor or your lawyer tells you what to put in the request. Avoid threatening the account holder with prosecution, as some states may interpret it as harassment.

    Small Claims Court

    You may sue in small claims court if none of the other actions produce a solution. Most small claim courts have limits of $2500 to $5000 so if your bad check is more than that amount you need to decide if you are willing to forego the amount above the limit. In some states you may receive damages or court costs rewarded above the bad check amount. You may also put a lien against real estate owned by the account holder and receive payment when the property is sold in some states.

    Collection Agency

    Consider contacting a collection agency if the amount is large and above the small claims limit. The collection agency will charge a fee, but it may be worth it to avoid the time and involvement it takes to collect on a bad check. Check collection laws in your state so you may know the proper avenue to take in collecting on a bad check.


    Law Free Advice: Collecting On A Bad Check

  • not sure, ask your bank
  • Assuming you have done the obvious, called the person who wrote the check and attempted a cooperative resolution and that failed: sue them in small claims court.

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