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  1. #1
    Murfman is offline Junior Member
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    Stop Payment on Check

    What is the name of your state? Illinois

    Back in August I had some repairs done to my septic system, and the repairs were not completed properly. I tried to contact the Plumbers for several days to no avail, I even went to their office, but there was only a secretary there. I placed a stop payment on my check, and still have not heard from the plumber. A Check Guarantee company is now contacting me stating that I owe them for the 2600.00 stopped check, as they paid the plumber back in August. I now understand why the plumber has never attempted to contact me, he already has his money. Am I liable for this check? What are my options? Thanks, Flushed in Illinois
  2. #2
    CraigFL is offline Member
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    People think that stopping payment on a check is their alternative to settling a dispute. You need to look at it from the plumbers view-- you contracted them to do work(you probably signed something to say this), they completed the work, you made payment. Does this mean the work they did was worth $0.00?? When you stopped payment, did you send them another check for the maybe $2000 worth of work you think they did (minus the disputed amount), and then proceed to let them fix the problem? Did you send them a certified letter about the disputed amount? Did you give them reasonable notice to fix the problem?

    So... by stopping payment on the check and effectively paying zero, you come off as another deadbeat that doesn't want to pay his bill so they turned it over for collection since they have all THEIR paperwork in order.

    If you don't want to look bad in court for the above reasons, you're going need to readjust your thinking and modify the solution you've implemented.
  3. #3
    BoredAtty is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murfman View Post
    What is the name of your state? Illinois

    Back in August I had some repairs done to my septic system, and the repairs were not completed properly. I tried to contact the Plumbers for several days to no avail, I even went to their office, but there was only a secretary there. I placed a stop payment on my check, and still have not heard from the plumber. A Check Guarantee company is now contacting me stating that I owe them for the 2600.00 stopped check, as they paid the plumber back in August. I now understand why the plumber has never attempted to contact me, he already has his money. Am I liable for this check? What are my options? Thanks, Flushed in Illinois
    Stopping a check is generally acceptable if there is a legitimate dispute, since the check cannot be enforced if the payee did not perform what was bargained for in a contract.

    If I were you, I'd write a letter to the check guarantee company and explain that the plumber did not fulfill his side of the contract, and therefore, the check cannot be legally enforced. However, state that you are willing to work with the plumber to reach an acceptable resolution to this problem. Perhaps they will contact the plumber.

    Unfortunately, you also take the chance that your credit report will somehow be affected. You may want to include something to the effect that if your credit is adversely affected, you will pursue this matter in court and seek all remedies and damages available at law.

    An alternative that can save potential problems with your credit report is to pay the check, then sue the plumber for non-performance/breach of contract and demand a refund.
  4. #4
    Murfman is offline Junior Member
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    This is a copy of the letter that I sent to the Plumber, The guarantee company, and the BBB.



    Dear XXX:

    Please accept this letter in reference to [check guarantee compny]’s claim number xxxxxxxxx, and as a response to [check gaurantee company]’s request to honor a check in the amount of $2,600.00, initially made out to [the plumber]. I halted this check with a “stop payment” soon after I became aware that the plumbers from [plumbing company] did not perform the work requested and outlined in the contract issued by his company. Despite numerous attempts to contact the owner of the company starting with an office visit on August 22 and continuing with more than a dozen phone calls, I have received no return call or other acknowledgement of my requests and messages.

    I contacted the [plumbers] office after discovering my septic tank lid collapsed and fell into the tank, leaving an approximately 4-foot by 4-foot hole exposing the tank’s interior. Having hired [the plumbers] only a month before -- to fix a plumbing issue in the interior of my home -- I expected to receive similar quality work and attention to my plumbing needs. However, the work I originally hired [the plumbers] to perform was not completed according to acceptable standards. In fact, the employees’ incompetence and deficient work left my septic system with more problems than it originally had.

    The three workers who visited my home on August 21 were to address a broken septic tank lid. I was told they would have a septic truck clean the contents of the septic tank; they were then going to use the backhoe to remove the broken concrete lid, dirt, and grass that had fallen into the tank. After this removal and cleaning, the lid was to be replaced with a new one.

    However, the [plumbers] employees claimed they did not want to wait for the septic truck to clean the tank, as it was held up on another job. This left my tank filled with its original contents and the original concrete lid. My tank is still filled, but now at a diminished capacity because of the bulky concrete lid still submerged in the tank’s contents. Not waiting for the tank to be cleaned out was only the first of numerous issues the [plumbers] employees created.

    The employees at [the plumbers] performed problematic work in other ways, too. Not only did they disregard protocol by not cleaning out the tank before the lid replacement work, but they also proceeded to replace my fallen lid with a faulty one. The workers measured the new lid incorrectly and attempted to drag it over the partially-filled tank. But, after cutting the lid too small to cover the hole, they tried to piece together two other pieces of concrete, approximately one foot wide each, damaging the integrity of this “new” lid, and creating weaknesses in the stability of the septic tank covering. My septic tank is still filled with the remains of the original lid in addition to the earth that was above the lid before the original collapse. As they were getting ready to leave my house one of the plumbers actually confided to me that they usually did not do this type of work. If I were told this in the first place, I would have hired someone who specializes in this field.

    Although literally passing the septic truck driver in my driveway before leaving my property, the [plumbers] truck did not stop to check with the operator, or do any more work on my septic tank or field.

    These problems were brought forth to me by the operator of the septic truck that was, in fact, subcontracted by [the plumbers]. He stated that if the concrete lid’s remains are left in the tank, effectively halving the capacity of the tank, it will lead to solid waste traveling into the septic field, therefore damaging the septic field itself and causing further problems. Upon researching his claims by calling other local septic service companies, I realized the exorbitant amount I was charged for services poorly rendered. Other septic companies quoted the original repair complete for amounts ranging between $1000-1300. As it stands now, my only recourse is to have my tank cleaned out every 12-18 months, compared to the usual 4-5 years; all this suggests five times the usual maintenance costs, as well.

    The stop payment on my check was only enacted because the lack of communication with [plumbers] and their obviously not wanting to correct the improperly repaired septic tank. I have stated repeatedly to [check gaurantee company]employees that I have no problem paying for the work, once it is satisfactorily completed, and the price is comparable to other quotes I have received. I feel I am at a dead end, as I was informed by one of your employees that [the plumbers] has already received payment from your company. Why should they try to contact me now? If I send payment to you, I will never be reimbursed by a company that has yet to even return my phone calls.
  5. #5
    Murfman is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigFL View Post
    People think that stopping payment on a check is their alternative to settling a dispute. You need to look at it from the plumbers view-- you contracted them to do work(you probably signed something to say this), they completed the work, you made payment. Does this mean the work they did was worth $0.00?? When you stopped payment, did you send them another check for the maybe $2000 worth of work you think they did (minus the disputed amount), and then proceed to let them fix the problem? Did you send them a certified letter about the disputed amount? Did you give them reasonable notice to fix the problem?

    So... by stopping payment on the check and effectively paying zero, you come off as another deadbeat that doesn't want to pay his bill so they turned it over for collection since they have all THEIR paperwork in order.

    If you don't want to look bad in court for the above reasons, you're going need to readjust your thinking and modify the solution you've implemented.

    I tried to contact the plumbing company, and even went to their shop multiple times, was called back by the technician that was at my house, only to be cursed to by him, but never recieved a return call from any other employee, supervisor, or the owner until this week, and they are stating that they could not remove the debris because of the poor condition of the tank. I was home all day, and was never informed of this "condition" until the call this week. I placed the stop payment 3 days after the work was completed AFTER I had tried 4 times to contact them, only to be cursed at.

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