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Altered Memo Line On Check

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What is the name of your state? North Carolina

I had a disagreement with a home heating repair service regarding an unauthorized repair. I told the company that I would pay for a service call because that's all I authorized. I wrote a check for the amount I had paid for earlier service calls and wrote "Paid in Full" in the memo line of the check. I just got the canceled check in my recent statement. The company altered the memo line by writing "Not" before "Paid in Full" and "Partial Payment" above it. They did not initial the changes.

Is this legal?


Senior Member
Yes. Your attempt at a 'restrictive endorsement' was improper and not enforcable. There alterations of it are proper and could be enforcable.


Senior Member
Halket said:
Yes. Your attempt at a 'restrictive endorsement' was improper and not enforcable. There alterations of it are proper and could be enforcable.

My response:

Um, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with my esteemed and good friend, Steve.

North Carolina does not allow "strike-outs" or "alterations" of a "paid" or "payment in full" notation. Nothing on a check can be altered. The creditor's only recourse would be to reject the check, and sue.

If our writer can show a court that the handwriting is different, or somehow that the creditor altered the check, and as long as the creditor has cashed the check, the court must find in favor of our writer that the debt is, in fact, "paid in full."



Senior Member
There are so few states that have definite laws allowing restrictive endorsements that I incorrectly rejected this one 'offhand' and shouldn't have. However, I think that there is an important issue that IAAL may have overlooked..... and it would still mean that the check was not payment in full.

The original post said that this notation was on the memo line of the check. I believe that in order to be enforcable, the restrictive endorsement is required to be on the back of the check, where the payee will clearly see it when he 'endorses' the check.... and its acceptance. Simply, I don't believe that the note in the memo line meets the requirements of 'restrictive endorsement'. (Though an argument could be made that the payee MUST have seen the endorsement since he attempted to alter it... thereby negating his argument of improper placement and failure to notice).

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