Liability for a Stop Payment Fee
January 4, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

If a check is "lost in the mail" and never was received by the payee, is there a rule that says who would have to cover the stop payment charge so that the check could be reissued?

I have a company trying to make me pay for a stop payment charge on a check that I never got. Do I have a legal argument against this?
posted by Snackpants to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What service is it they are providing and is there any mention of such a situation in the contract/legal terms they provide? If there is, by using the service you implicitly accept the terms and conditions of the service and agree to be bound by them.
posted by dougrayrankin at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: They are the fund holding "bank" for a debt settlement program. They are returning my deposits. I do not believe that there is a contract with them directly, they are a third party to the contract I signed.
posted by Snackpants at 1:29 PM on January 4, 2011

If you did not receive payment, then you did not receive payment. They have no way to prove that they ever sent you a check. If it was sent via a service that provides tracking or delivery receipt, then that party would be responsible for losing it. As it is, the payer is responsible for getting you payment. End of story.
posted by mikeh at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

What dougrayrankin said. Further if your business relationship has a stipulation for late payment, you can charge the payer that. You can offer to waive the late fee if they waive the stop check charge.

Until you are paid, they still owe you money. Them getting a stop payment on the original check protects them (sort of, read the fine print on the bank's stop check policy -- they'll stop the check, but if it does get paid, tough shit). It is up to them if they want to stop payment on the old check, hence, they pay.

Among friends and better relationships, one might offer to split the difference.
posted by birdherder at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2011

I don't know if there is a "rule", but in general the issuer of the check is responsible for either allowing the check to proceed, or for halting it.

They are trying to dick you around.

Issue a demand of payment, if it is significant enough also mention legal action.
posted by edgeways at 1:58 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know if there is a "rule", but in general the issuer of the check is responsible for either allowing the check to proceed, or for halting it.

edgeways, there is a rule: the payment has not been made, therefore the customer has received goods or services without paying for same. If restitution is not made, it is called theft (mail fraud, etc).

The talk about the check being sent, lost, whatever, is a complete red herring. The customer owes the vendor an agreed-upon payment. Everything else is a distraction.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:45 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the question is "when are you going to pay me," not "do you want to help me figure out the US Postal Service?"
posted by rhizome at 5:26 PM on January 4, 2011

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