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Bounced Check Fiasco - Need Advice!

Hey AB, I found myself in a quandry.

In February of 2012, I took a badge commission at a convention. The client paid with a check - not something I'm really fond of, but I let it slide because I had a few prior commissions from this client and things had gone smoothly. I finished and delivered the badge at con.

I went to cash the check when I got back home, and it bounced. The badge was $40, and my bank charged a bounced check fee. I lost $52 all together. In early March, I emailed the commissioner about the bounced check. He apologized, told me he'd pay me as soon as his paycheck came in, that same week. Two weeks go by, and no payment. I email him, and he gives more excuses - I needed to pay taxes, I'll pay you next month, something came up... Long story short, I was told no less than four times that I'd be paid in some future date. All four of those dates passed over a year ago.

The client has since ceased communication with me. I"m not sure how else to contact him, besides email.

Do I just call this one lost? Should I try again/ 

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Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
lazer_the_hyena
Aug. 29th, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
Do you still have the returned check? you could possibly atenpt to call his bank and see if they can help you.
mittymandi
Sep. 2nd, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)
I don't; the ATM I deposited in ate it. :c
bailzzararco
Aug. 29th, 2013 11:02 am (UTC)
I personally can't believe that they didn't know the check would bounce. I think they had no intention of paying you, and knew it would come to this. But I don't think you should let it slide, either.
kadaria
Aug. 29th, 2013 11:35 am (UTC)
Had you posted when this happened you might have been able to get law enforcement involved since writing bad checks (and refusing to pay when given the chance) is a fraudulent practice. Depending on the time passed and your records of communication with this person, I'd personally write it off as a lost cause and never do business with them again.

In the future:
If you do not want to accept checks, make sure it is in your ToS that you only accept XYZ type payments.
If you do want to accept checks, say from a previously good customer, there are ways for you to protect yourself such a revising your ToS to say that you will charge a fee on returned checks or having a customer add their valid drivers lisence number to the check.
There are services that can provide you with a machine that runs the checks routing numbers and gives a "OK" signal of the person has a good record with that bank (enough funds, not a lot of overdraft fees). But I feel like that would be overkill since most people will just use a card, PayPal or cash to pay.
You can probably ask your Bank or BBB (as a small business owner) for other ways to prevent this kind of fraud.
houndofloki
Aug. 29th, 2013 12:00 pm (UTC)
If he's bouncing checks and is now ignoring you, he probably has no money. There's a "you can't get blood out of a stone" point, and honestly you're not likely to get paid by this guy. But chances are he knew the check would bounce when he wrote it, so I'd definitely name and beware the customer.

I'd advise against accepting personal checks, except perhaps from someone you've worked with successfully in the past and feel you can trust.
ljmydayaway
Aug. 29th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
"I'd advise against accepting personal checks, except perhaps from someone you've worked with successfully in the past and feel you can trust. "

From the OP: "I let it slide because I had a few prior commissions from this client and things had gone smoothly"

I advise against taking checks period, since they're really rarely used now and anyone should have an alternate form of payment. For convention uses, you can even accept credit cards through Square (and Paypal has a card scanner for smartphones now too).
mittymandi
Sep. 2nd, 2013 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh absolutely. Since this happened, I haven't taken a check and have acquired Square.
spiffystuff
Aug. 29th, 2013 12:05 pm (UTC)
It may be too late now but for what it's worth
a) you can sometimes attempt to re-cash the bounced check, but this is risky because who knows if there's money in the account
b) FILE CHARGES. Bouncing checks is a crime. I don't know if it would be your local police, their local police, or the police local to where the transaction took place, but if you called around hopefully someone would step up.

Sorry that happened :( I hope you make a formal beware.
lazer_the_hyena
Aug. 29th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
What is an AD account uf you don't mind me asking? It seems interesting.
mazz
Aug. 29th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Contact his bank see if they can help, law enforcement is a good idea too.

I'd for sure post a beware here, you may not be the only person he's bounced a check on.
xubunturambles
Aug. 29th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
That really sucks :/ I think your best bet would to be to file charges or make him pay what he lost you.
lakotawolf
Aug. 29th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
File a claim in small claims court. I'm not sure what district you should file in (yours? his? where the convention took place?) so you should research that, but definitely file a claim ASAP. You should be able to initiate a claim online, depending on the courthouse.
marus_puppy
Sep. 1st, 2013 02:58 am (UTC)
Since it IS illegal to write bad checks in a lot of places, threatening with legal action might be enough to get this guy moving. Make sure you're willing to go thru with it though, in case he doesn't get his rear in gear.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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