Legal Actions for “Bad Checks”

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The procedure for collecting payment and damages for a bad check is spelled out in M.G.L. c. 93A, section 40A.

It states that you must first mail a demand letter to the debtor.  The letter must be written in both English and Spanish using at least size 10 font.

A template for the demand letter is made part of the statute.  It reads as follows:

DEMAND FOR PAYMENT OF DISHONORED CHECK

DATE:_________________________________

TO:___________________________________

NAME OF MAKER

WARNING: YOU MAY BE SUED 30 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE IF YOU DO

NOT MAKE PAYMENT

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

LAST KNOWN RESIDENCE ADDRESS OR PLACE
OF BUSINESS

YOUR CHECK/DRAFT/ORDER IN THE AMOUNT OF $___________

DATED _________ PAYABLE TO THE ORDER OF ________________

HAS BEEN DISHONORED BY THE BANK OR OTHER DEPOSITORY UPON WHICH IT HAS BEEN DRAWN BECAUSE:

? THE MAKER HAD NO ACCOUNT WITH SUCH BANK OR DEPOSITORY

? THE MAKER HAD INSUFFICIENT FUNDS ON DEPOSIT WITH SUCH BANK OR DEPOSITORY

IF YOU DO NOT MAKE PAYMENT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE ABOVE DATE, YOU MAY BE SUED TO RECOVER PAYMENT. IF A JUDGMENT IS RENDERED AGAINST YOU IN COURT, IT WILL INCLUDE NOT ONLY THE ORIGINAL FACE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK/DRAFT/ORDER, BUT ALSO ADDITIONAL LIQUIDATED DAMAGES OF NOT LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100.00) NOR MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500.00).

PLEASE MAKE PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $_____________ TO:

_______________________________________

NAME OF PAYEE

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

ADDRESS TO WHICH PAYMENT SHOULD
BE DELIVERED

The letter should be sent via both first-class and certified mail.

The debtor will have 30 days to respond.  If he fails to do so, you may take the matter to court.

If you win the debtor will be liable for

the face amount of such check, draft or order, and for additional damages, as determined by the court, but in no event shall the amount of such damages be less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars.

You may also pursue criminal penalties against the debtor.

If you have any questions about the law, please contact me at justin@jrmccarthy.com.

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