I got a call today from a collection agency stating that I had a check to bounce in April with a area store amt. $40.41. Now he said that I needed to pay $206 by today or a warrent would be issured. I had no Idas about the check. what should I do or what can I do.
2 Answers from Attorneys
I would take a witness with you, neutral as possible, get a money order or cashier's check for $40.41 payable to the original store and go give it to the store. DO NOT engage them in a long drawn out discussion about it. DO NOT mention a collection agency, because that will simply get them into a bureaucratic, red tape mindset. SIMPLY hand them the money order or cashier's check and say your check bounced and this is a replacement. You may need to give them some details to be able to credit it properly.
Under Virginia law IF a creditor SUES you they can sue for 3 times the face amount of the check for a check up to $250.
However, this creditor has NOT yet sued you. They cannot charge you for 3 times the amount BEFORE they have sued you.
Furthermore, they cannot sue you if you have in fact PAID the amount of the check. They cannot sue you if you do not owe them anything.
If they refuse to accept the payment, you have a witness that you "TENDERED" payment. Again, no one can sue you for not paying if you are WILLING to pay.
In that case, send the money order to the collection agency.
Also, it is unethical to threaten arrest as a way of getting payment.
However, a creditor must CHOOSE between suing for 3 times the amount or swearing out a complaint for a bad check. If they have received payment they CANNOT request the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. The law requires them to CHOOSE between getting payment versus requesting prosecution. (Note no private person can issue a warrant for your arrest. They can only REQUEST that one be issued. They do not have the power to make it happen. So again if you repay the bad check nothing else will happen.
Virginia law gives one at least five days to make good on a bounced check after having received proper notice by certified or registered mail(with return receipt) from the person or company which was listed as payee on the check.
I would suggest that you contact the original company involved and see whether you can settle the matter with them. (And, no, no warrant can issue for your arrest in this mattter until after you've received your five day notice required under the statute and failed to comply. (Sec. 18.2-153 of the Va. Code).