Author Topic: Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 11  (Read 3895 times)

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Girlie

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Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 11
« on: December 06, 2012, 10:39:57 AM »
My DH and I have a friend who owes me money. For his birthday, I treated my DH to a concert from a local symphony orchestra, and our friend said he'd go and pay me back for the ticket.
He wrote me a check, and the check bounced in my account, costing me not only the funds to cover the ticket, but now a returned item fee with my bank.

DH and I have spoken about it, and have agreed to let him know that the check was bad. DH also recommended that I let him know through email, simply because that is the primary method of communication that I have with him - as in, 99% of the time, if I have a question or issue, I use email. Calling him is unreliable, since he is usually busy with work, and has been known to not return calls at all, or to return them a week or so later. Email is almost always read and returned.

So, how do you word an email as such?
I'm assuming there was simply a mistake made on his end, since I have known him for fifteen years and never known him to be a deadbeat.
However, you know what they say about assumptions, and if it turns out that he is having financial problems, I'd hate to embarrass him, though I think it's actually unavoidable to an extent.

What is the kindest, politest, most e-hell approved way to tell someone that their check is no good? Or am I overthinking this?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 03:56:04 PM by Girlie »

kansha

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 10:46:40 AM »
he should already know, due to his bank notifying him of the issue.  if he's not contacting YOU apologizing, well.... :-\

Girlie

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 10:54:05 AM »
Thanks! That reminds me to add that it might actually be a while before he DOES know, if he's not paying attention to his account online. He moved out of his parents' home last year and into a house that he's renting, and most of his mail is still going to their home. He only visits once a month or so, so he may not have recieved the notice yet...

Should I wait and see if he does say anything? 

VorFemme

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 10:58:22 AM »
"When will you be able to get me the cash to cover the bounced check fees and the cost of the ticket?"

If you're set up for PayPal, you can mention that he can send it to your account under email ID@whatever.com - and remind him that it's a reimbursement, so it doesn't end up "costing" you a business user's percentage if he just sends the money on auto-pilot.....

It may not be a big percentage - but it still money out of your pocket that hasn't been repaid.
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RebeccainGA

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 10:58:34 AM »
I'd just say something to the effect of "I got an odd notice back from my bank that your check to me didn't clear. Perhaps there was an error at your bank? Could you check into it, and let me know how you'd like me to handle the returned check. Thanks so much, was lovely to see you, blah, blah, blah..."

Really may have been an error at his bank. Best to give him the 'out'.

O'Dell

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 10:59:32 AM »
What about wording it as giving him a heads up since he might not get timely mail notices? Saving him fees and such. I would think that anyone that communicates thru email would get notices from their bank to their email, but assume that's not the case and see where it gets you.
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Thipu1

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 11:01:04 AM »
I'd just say something to the effect of "I got an odd notice back from my bank that your check to me didn't clear. Perhaps there was an error at your bank? Could you check into it, and let me know how you'd like me to handle the returned check. Thanks so much, was lovely to see you, blah, blah, blah..."

Really may have been an error at his bank. Best to give him the 'out'.

Amen to this.  It's gentle but to the point. 

JenJay

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 11:13:41 AM »
I'd just say something to the effect of "I got an odd notice back from my bank that your check to me didn't clear. Perhaps there was an error at your bank? Could you check into it, and let me know how you'd like me to handle the returned check. Thanks so much, was lovely to see you, blah, blah, blah..."

Really may have been an error at his bank. Best to give him the 'out'.

I'd go with this but start with "I got a $20 fee and notice from your bank..." It should be a given that he'll reimburse that so I'd give him the amount upfront and hope it's included with his next attempt at paying for the ticket.

CakeBeret

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 11:53:01 AM »
I think emailing is fine. Once, my bank account details were stolen and I had to close that account and open a new one. One day, I accidentally used the checkbook from the old account to write a few checks--and I didn't realize until one of the recipients contacted me. I was mortified.

Anyway, I think simple and friendly, but to the point, is fine. "Friend, the bank let me know that there was a problem with your check and it bounced. They charged me a $15 bounced check fee, so I need to get the $XX [ticket cost + bank fee] from you. Let me know how you want to handle this."
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 11:59:59 AM »
I think emailing is fine. Once, my bank account details were stolen and I had to close that account and open a new one. One day, I accidentally used the checkbook from the old account to write a few checks--and I didn't realize until one of the recipients contacted me. I was mortified.

Anyway, I think simple and friendly, but to the point, is fine. "Friend, the bank let me know that there was a problem with your check and it bounced. They charged me a $15 bounced check fee, so I need to get the $XX [ticket cost + bank fee] from you. Let me know how you want to handle this."

I think this is a great way to handle it.  I had a similar thing happen.  Someone gave me a cheque and then came to me a week later letting me know she'd written it on a closed account, apologized, offered to pay any fees and wrote me a new cheque on the correct account.  Fortunately, I hadn't cashed the cheque yet.

And this thread is reminding me that I need to order more cheques on both my accounts...
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snappylt

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 03:27:05 PM »
Yes, I agree with the other posters who suggest that you write him an e-mail but that you handle it as if you think it was an error on his bank's part.  It may really be an error on his bank's part, especially if you've never known him to bounce checks before.  This way lets him save face if it is his own error, and it alerts him to a problem if it is the bank's mistake.

This almost happened to me once a few years ago.  I happened to catch a bank error by sheer good luck.  (I happened to call in to the bank's computer later in the day on the day the error was made.)  I was able to get the error corrected before I bounced any checks... but if I hadn't just happened to have called on that particular day I would soon have been bouncing checks through no fault of my own.

So I vote for giving him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Girlie

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 12
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 03:55:16 PM »
Okay, so I sent the email, and I took e-hell's advice, in acknowledging the possibility of bank error.
I also wanted to keep it short and sweet. I wrote:

Hey, Friend -
 
I noticed today that the check you wrote me was returned to my account, plus I was charged a fee for the item. Was there a mistake with the bank? How would you like me to handle the returned check?

Thanks -
--Me

He wrote me back right away, and said,

"Really? Was there any reason given for the returned check? There shouldn't be any problem... I can see that a check I wrote my brother only a couple of weeks prior was deposited fine. If you want to hold on to the returned check so I can take a look at it and see what's wrong, I'll get you cash to make up for it. Sorry for the trouble."

I am perfectly willing to believe that it was a bank error, and I'm glad that you all suggested it to me. I don't have the returned check in hand yet, so I don't know the actual cause of it being returned (I guess we'll wait and see what it says), but so far, so good.

peach2play

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 11
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 07:43:51 PM »
Sometimes it is a mistake.  Good friends will apologize and own up and fix it.  Not so good friends won't.  Hopefully he'll be a good friend and it will all work out.  Pretty good update.

mmswm

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 11
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 08:38:39 PM »
Sounds like everything worked out in the end.  You really would be surprised at just how many ways a check can be misprocessed.  I've mentioned before that I had a research job in the deposit operations area of Major Bank.  This type of thing accounted for at least 40% of my work load.  I would always give the person the benefit of the doubt if they bounced a check, unless, of course, they have a history of doing so.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

mmswm

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Re: Bounced Checks and Emails - Update Post 11
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 08:43:44 PM »
Oh, and it just occurred to me: for those of you who have mentioned accidentally writing checks off closed accounts, there is a way to rectify that.  The bank I worked for could re-disposition those items if we are alerted to them before they get returned.  It really was a very simple process.  When an item for a closed account comes through, it goes onto an "unposted" report.  From there, we run a program that looks for specific account numbers (those we've been alerted to) and debit those items out of the customer's existing account.  It takes about one extra day to do that, but it's a lot less headache than trying to chase after everybody you've written a check to and trying to get it all sorted out that way.  The catch is that we have to know before the items get returned.  After we've returned them, it's too late.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)