• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Update to: Rubber Check! What can I do?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

Update: Thanks for the reply. You indicated that you could give me more advise if you knew in which state I was located...the answer is, California. What apart from small claims can I do. The original posting follows:

I own a small business (pet grooming). Recently a customer used by company twice to bathe his hound dog including pick-up and delivery. The total for both visits was $50.00. After requesting payment a couple of times, he made me come to his work to pick up a check. The check was returned from the bank for insufficient funds. When I contacted the bank, they told me that the account in inactive. I believe my customer wrote the check on an account which he knew was closed. Isn't this a federal offense? Since the check was returned, I have left the customer a couple of messages and sent a letter. I have not received any answer to any of my attempts to contact him. What is my best course of action at this point?
Thank you for taking the time to respond.

S. Sherman
[email protected]




Contact the prosecutor's office. Ask them if CA has a law making Unauthorized Issuance of a Bank Check (UIBC) a state crime. It's similar to theft, but not the same. Then file a complaint against the guy. I don't know about CA, but Washington DAs prosecute bad check writers VIGOROUSLY. I wonder if all those campaign contributions from the business associations could have anything to do with that?

You can also sue him in small claims court, but it looks like he doesn't have any money to collect. :(

This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws.


Senior Member
My response:

While the law in California allows a consumer to turn a bad check over to the D.A. for prosecution, if the check is for more than $25.00, this is a "fantasy." The District Attorney's office has better things to do and the law is never enforced.

The following is the law you will need to use so that you can make MORE money on the "deal." Read the explanation carefully and, at the end of this post is a sample letter for you to use. DO THIS ALL CAREFULLY, AND YOU'LL WIN YOUR CASE, SHOULD THE MATTER GO TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT!!

Claims on dishonored checks: When a debtor passes a "bad check," his or her creditor may send the debtor a written demand for payment, by certified mail, informing the debtor of:

· The provisions of Ca Civil § 1719;

· The check amount; and

· The service charge amount (up to $25 on first "bad check"; up to $35 for every subsequent one). [Ca Civil § 1719(a)(1),(2)]

1) NSF checks; checks drawn on nonexistent account: A creditor is entitled to (i) the amount of the bad check and service charge, less any partial payments made within 30 days of the written demand; and (ii) treble damages up to $1,500 (but not less than $100) if:

· The debtor's financial institution refused to honor the check due to insufficient funds or credit to pay; or

· The debtor had no account at the drawee institution;


· The debtor fails to pay in full the check amount, service charge and mailing costs of the creditor's written demand for payment within 30 days from the day the written demand wass mailed. [Ca Civil § 1719(a)]



TO: (Drawer's Name)

(Street Address)

(City, State, Zip)

(Payee) is the payee of a check you wrote for $....... The check was not paid and payee was charged a bad check fee of $..... because (the institution upon which the check was drawn refused to honor it for lack of funds) (you have no account with the drawee).
Payee hereby demands payment.

If you fail within 30 days after this notice was mailed to pay the payee the full amount of the check in cash, plus a service charge of $.....(up to $25 on 1st "bad check"; up to $35 for every subsequent one) and costs of $..... for mailing this written notice, you may be sued and held responsible to pay both of the following:

(1) The amount of the check, less any partial payments made toward the amount of the check or the service charge within 30 days of this notice; and,

(2) Damages equal to three times that amount, but not less than $100 nor more than $1500.
You may wish to contact a lawyer to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities. Sincerely,
(sign your name)
___________________________________ (Typed Name)
[Send by certified mail, return receipt requested]


By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."


Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential