Letter: Beware -- merchant may cash check long after you've forgotten about it

May 14, 2013 

I wrote a personal check on Sept. 15, 2011 as a down payment on a used car. On Nov. 7, 2011, my husband died suddenly, and all was forgotten.

Then on Jan. 17, 2013, the check suddenly was cashed. After speaking with several bank officials and the dealership, I was told that they could cash the check whenever they wanted. Furthermore, I should have kept that amount of money in my account.

No, I did not plan to have the check cashed 16 months later, and, no, I did not write "void after 90 days" on it. I have lived more than 50 years and have never heard or been informed of either issue.

After $560 in overdraft fees and additional phone calls to several banks, here is what I learned. Indeed the check was "dead," however any business is within its right to cash the check anytime.

Moral -- monitor your checks, regardless of life events.


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