Hello, I am the owner of a small business based in Canada that recently had to reimburse a dissatisfied client via cheque. My business operates as a sole proprietorship.
This cheque was sent via UPS on December 13, and upon referencing my bank records the cheque was withdrawn on December 28. Due to an honest mistake, I was informed today that this cheque had bounced and that my client is now threatening to pursue criminal charges.
I fully intend to repay the amount of the bad check straight away, in addition to bank fees they may have incurred as a result, and any possible interest, within the next 72 business hours at the latest.
Is this little more than a threat from the client, or must I be concerned? Again, I have every intention of reimbursing this client with interest and for applicable fees within 72 business hours.
This client does have a legal background. Via e-mail; they stated the following
"As you should know, it is illegal to remit a check as payment when there are insufficient funds to cover the amount. You have elevated our dispute from a civil contract action to subjecting yourself to criminal charges and penalties. While I have no interest in seeing you have a criminal record out of this mess, I am no longer willing to let you renege on your commitment to me. I intend to call your bank, where I have several accounts, on Monday and try to resolve this myself. If not, criminal charges will be forthcoming, with all of the publicity that judicial procedures incur."
1 Answer from Attorneys
No, criminal charges are unlikely to be "forthcoming" out of
the above described scenario absent a credible showing that you acted with an intent to defraud this payee or with knowledge of the
insufficiency of the funds in your account on which the check at issue
was written. (See Va. Code Secs. 18.2-181 and 18.2-183.)
Pursuant to Va, Code Sec. 18.2-183, to quickly settle this matter you should remit all amounts due to this disgruntled payee within 5 days of receiving notification of your bounced check. (I would suggest that you send a money order directly to him and keep a careful record of it.)
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