I received a bad check from a regular customer. Instead of turning it over, I wrote a really nice letter to him asking for payment, and even said that if it was too difficult to pay all at once that we would be willing to accept payments.
He’s been in multiple times since then to eat (and mentioned to an employee that he knows that he plans on paying it “soon”). This was back in the middle of March.
The next bad check was for all of $3.50. I contacted the woman on the phone and explained that she had one week to send in payment or I’d turn it over to collections. She was rude to me; said that she couldn’t believe I’d turn it over for such a small amount of money. When she hung up on me, I drove it immediately over to our collections office (and probably wasted as much on gas as the entire check was worth) to get the process started sooner than later. The gal behind the counter laughed a little too much when she saw the name on the check. Turns out that this woman used to manage the collection agency. The gal said, “This should be fun.” Ouch.
The last bad check we received was from a woman that used a phone number on her check that rang up another local restaurant! When I asked for the check-writer, the owner of the restaurant flipped out — said that I was one of many businesses calling her restaurant to find this woman. She had been writing bad checks all over town.
Our Chief of Police informed me that most businesses choose either prosecution or collections, and that he looked up this particular woman and that she has been arrested in the past for passing bad checks. The chances of recouping our loss on the check is slim, and so I’m going to go through the process of prosecuting. It’s not as simple as it sounds. To do this, I need to write a letter demanding payment, and send it Certified Mail. If we haven’t been paid within 10-days after this, I have to file a packet of paperwork with the police department to go through with the prosecution.
It’s a pain in the arse. Time-consuming.
This woman has been stealing merchandise / food / services all over town, and it’s not her first time. Her name should be plastered on a huge Bulletin Board that every local business owner or manager can read every morning. I asked the Chief about this; he said that some places hang the check up in their own business for everyone to see, however, a compiled list of shared information might violate civil rights and to check with my attorney.
At $250/hour, I try to limit my conversations with our attorney.