Cheque bounce flounce
I wrote a cheque for £35 in a branch of a high street music store. I used a cheque guarantee card, but it bounced. It was re-presented and has now been paid. Since then, I have received letters from a debt recovery agency demanding £58 from me because of the bounced cheque. They say there was a notice from them in the shop saying customers will be charged if a cheque bounces but I certainly didn't see it. Do I have to pay them this money?
According to the cheque guarantee scheme the bank will guarantee your cheque providing all the following conditions are met:
- The cheque does not exceed the limit on the cheque guarantee card; and
- The signature on the cheque matches the specimen on the card and was written in the presence of The person receiving the cheque; and
- The person accepting the cheque writes the card number on the back of it; and
- The cheque guarantee card has not expired; and
- The cheque is not drawn on the account of a limited company; and
- Only one cheque is used in the transaction.
Your bank or building society is contractually bound to honour all cheques, provided that sufficient funds are in your account, or if the cheque was within the limits of your agreed overdraft. So, even if the cheque was over guarantee, but there was enough money in the account, it should have been honoured.
In this situation, contact your bank to find out why they failed to honour the cheque. Without this information, it will be difficult to argue with the music store. If there has been an error on the part of the bank, they would be expected to pay the music store any compensation for the inconvenience and expense caused in the cheque being returned.
If, for some reason, the bank were right to bounce your cheque, you could return to the branch of the music store and look for the agency's notice. If the notice is not prominent then you may be able to argue a case for not paying the £58. Just be aware that it may cost you more in the long run if the dispute then went to court.
Question answered by CAB