Do I Have to Accept a Check?
You are never under any obligation to accept a check from someone for payment of goods or services, while checks are certainly a convenience, you may opt to ask for cash or certified checks or money orders.
If you decide to accept checks, please follow these guidelines:
- Do not accept checks that are post-dated (checks dated for future or indeterminate date like February 31, or
2/_/2007, or checks with no date on them at all) unless you are willing to take a chance, since post-dated checks cannot be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office if they are dishonored. You may sue on a post-dated check that is dishonored in a Small Claims Court suit.
- Do not agree to hold a check, even for a few hours. Accepting a check and agreeing to hold it for a period of time puts you on notice that the funds are not available when the check is being given to you, and such checks cannot be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office. Again, such a check may be sued upon in a Small Claims Court suit.
- Do not accept third-party checks, since the person who wrote the check is not the person giving it to you, and you may be accepting a forged or stolen check.
- You should ask for some type of picture identification, either a driver's license or ID card issued by a governmental agency. Be wary of "ID cards" that can be obtained through mail or at flea markets. Examine the ID carefully to make sure that it has not been altered in any way and to make sure that the person presenting the check is the person on the ID.
- Check the signature on the ID against the signature on the check; do they look similar?
- If the check presented to you is a company check or a temporary check (no name or address is printed in the upper-left hand corner of the check), then get the person to PRINT their name under the signature line.