12/18/2010 9:23:25 AM
How many of you have been burned by NSF checks? Most of us get on the phone and contact the maker of the check and make arrangements. However, what if the individual or company that wrote the check has suddenly disconnected their phone and/or won't return your e-mails or letters. Unfortunately for me, this scenario has played out many times over the last 20 years. Many of you are aware of the Treble Damages laws in California pertaining to collection on NSF checks. However, I also know that many of you are not aware. I write this because we have processed scores of Small Claims cases whereby the Plaintiff is only asking for the face amount of the check. If you follow the correct procedure, you can file a Small Claims suit for the face amount of the check, plus Treble Damages (up to 3 times the amount of the check!!) What are Treble Damages?? Read Below!
So you've tried to contact the individual or company that has written you an NSF Check. Your letters, calls, e-mails have gone unanswered. What to do? Well, did you know that the maker of the check can be liable for the amount of the check plus three times the amount? Here's the shortened version. The full text of the law is posted below this article.
* Mail a written demand via Certified mail to the person/company that includes: the provisions of CCP Code Sec. 1719, the amount of the check and the amount of the service charge payable to the payee and the cost to send the Certified Letter.
* If this person/company fails to pay in full the amount of the check, the service charge payable to the payee, and the costs to mail the written demand within 30 days from the date demand letter was sent, the writer of the check will than be liable for:
1. The amount of the check
2. The Bank Service charge
3. The cost to send the Certified Letter
4. Treble Damages in the amount
of no less than $100 nor more than $1,500.
What does this really mean? Here's an example:
A client gives you an NSF check for $250. You send the demand letter and the client does not respond within 30 days from the day the letter was mailed.
Here's the amount you can now recover:
1. $250.00 check
2. $35.00 your bank service fee
3. $6.00 cost to send certified letter
4. $750.00 treble damages (3 X the amount of check)