Can I Be Forced to Pay for a Bounced Check From a Customer?
In some cases, a check's funds may be made available before the money actually comes back to the depositor's bank. If the check bounces, the customer is responsible for repayment. When a deposited check is returned unpaid, the customer is charged a fee for the returned deposit. This fee is charged regardless of the reason for the bad check, and it is up to the consumer to try to get recourse from the check writer
Bad checks are covered by both criminal and civil law. To be prosecuted criminally, knowledge of insufficient funds is required. Money damages may be recovered in a civil case. In a civil claim, in event of failure to make payment after demand, the amount owed, together penalties, bank and court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, may be ordered. A breach of contract suit may also be possible. After a judgment remains unpaid, the unpaid judgment may be used to create a lien on property of the judgment debtor.
If a person has reason to know that a check is uncollectable, they may be liable for losses due to its payment. The same holds true for a bank teller, so that both the presenter of the check and the teller may be liable for payment of a bad check. The answer will be a matter of subjective determination for the court on how each party did or didn’t exercise reasonable care.
Please see also:
Please see the following VA statutes:
§ 8.01-27.2. Civil recovery for giving bad check.
Except as otherwise provided in Chapter 13 (§ 55-217 et seq.) or Chapter 13.2 (§ 55-248.2 et seq.) of Title 55, in the event a check, draft or order, the payment of which has been refused by the drawee because of lack of funds in or credit with such drawee, is not paid in full within thirty days after receipt by the drawer of (i) written notice by registered, certified, or regular mail with the sender retaining an affidavit of service of mailing or other sufficient proof of mailing, which may be a U.S. Postal Certificate of Mailing or (ii) if for nonpayment of rent under § 55-225 or 55-248.31, written notice in accordance therewith, from the payee that the check, draft or order has been returned unpaid, the payee may recover from the drawer in a civil action brought by the filing of a warrant in debt, the lesser of $250 or three times the amount of the check, draft or order. The amount recovered as authorized by this section shall be in addition to the amounts authorized for recovery under § 8.01-27.1. No action may be initiated under this section if any action has been initiated under § 18.2-181. The drawer shall be obligated to pay the cost of service and the cost of mailing, as applicable.
§ 8.01-27.1. Additional recovery in certain civil actions concerning checks.
A. Except as otherwise provided in Chapter 13 (§ 55-217 et seq.) or Chapter 13.2 (§ 55-248.2 et seq.) of Title 55, in any civil claim or action made or brought against the drawer of a check, draft or order, payment of which has been refused by the drawee depository because of lack of funds in or credit with such drawee depository, or because such check, draft or order was returned because of a stop-payment order placed in bad faith on the check, draft or order by the drawer, the holder or his agent shall be entitled to claim, in addition to the face amount of the check (i) legal interest from the date of the check, (ii) the protest or bad check return fee, if any, charged to the holder by his bank or other depository, (iii) a processing charge of $50, and (iv) reasonable attorney's fees if awarded by the court.
B. Except as otherwise provided in Chapter 13 (§ 55-217 et seq.) or Chapter 13.2 (§ 55-248.2 et seq.) of Title 55, any holder of a check, draft or order, payment of which has been refused by the drawee for insufficient funds or credit or because of a stop-payment order placed in bad faith, who charges the drawer amounts in excess of those authorized in subsection A on account of payment being so refused shall, upon demand, be liable to the drawer for the lesser of (i) $50 plus the excess of the authorized amount or (ii) twice the amount charged in excess of the authorized amount.
§ 17.1-626.1. Recovery of costs in civil actions for bad checks. [EDITORS' NOTE: THE TEXT OF THIS SECTION IS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2010.]
A. In any civil action by a holder to recover the sum payable of a check drawn by the defendant on which payment has been refused by the payor bank because the drawer had no account or insufficient funds, or in any civil action following an arrest under § 18.2-181 or 18.2-182, the court, upon a determination that the plaintiff has prevailed, shall add the following amounts, as costs, to the amount due to the plaintiff for the check: (i) the sum of $30 to defray the cost of processing the returned check; and (ii) the base wage of one employee for time actually spent acting as a witness for the Commonwealth; provided, however, that the total amount of allowable costs granted under the provisions of this section shall not exceed the sum of $250 excluding restitution for the amount of the check.
§ 18.2-181. Issuing bad checks, etc., larceny.
Any person who, with intent to defraud, shall make or draw or utter or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, upon any bank, banking institution, trust company, or other depository, knowing, at the time of such making, drawing, uttering or delivering, that the maker or drawer has not sufficient funds in, or credit with, such bank, banking institution, trust company, or other depository, for the payment of such check, draft or order, although no express representation is made in reference thereto, shall be guilty of larceny; and, if this check, draft, or order has a represented value of $200 or more, such person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. In cases in which such value is less than $200, the person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The word "credit" as used herein, shall be construed to mean any arrangement or understanding with the bank, trust company, or other depository for the payment of such check, draft or order.
Any person making, drawing, uttering or delivering any such check, draft or order in payment as a present consideration for goods or services for the purposes set out in this section shall be guilty as provided herein.
(Code 1950, § 6.1-115; 1966, c. 584; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1978, c. 791; 1981, c. 230.)
B. Such award of costs shall be contingent upon a finding (i) that the plaintiff complied with the provisions in § 18.2-183 relating to notice and (ii) that the defendant failed to deliver payment or evidence of bank error to the plaintiff within five days after receipt of such notice.
(1977, c. 329, § 6.1-118.1; 2010, cc. 343, 794.)
Please see the following VA statute that applies to check cashing places:
§ 6.2-2107. Prohibited practices. [EDITORS' NOTE: THE TEXT OF THIS SECTION IS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2010.]
No person required to be registered under this chapter shall:
1. Engage in the business of making loans of credit, goods, or things; or discounting notes, bills of exchange, items, or other evidences of debt; or accepting deposits or bailments of money or items without meeting the requirements of the laws of the Commonwealth;
2. Cash post-dated items, other than government or payroll checks;
3. Use, or cause to be published or disseminated, any advertisement or communication that (i) contains any false, misleading, or deceptive statement or representation or (ii) identifies the person by any name other than the name or trade name set forth on the registration;
4. Engage in unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices; or
5. Make loans unless such person is licensed under, and the loans are made in accordance with, Chapter 18 (§ 6.2-1800 et seq.).