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My paycheck bounced

I’ve got this part time gig that pays pretty well and helps make up the difference between how we would like to live and how much money we have. It’s not a lot, but it’s a lot for the amount of effort and time I have to put into it and it’s totally flexible, perfect for a stay at home mom.

Which why I”m very concerned about the fact that my paycheck bounced. A one-time thing I can understand… someone in payroll or accounts receivable messed up, whatever. But if it’s because there’s a larger problem with the business, if they are really struggling for cash, then there’s the chance that this will happen again. And again. And again.

Apparently my bank charges our account $5 for a bounced check. Not a check we wrote, mind you, that’s $50. No. $5 for having the audacity to cash a check that bounced. It’s ridiculous. I’ll eat the fee this time but if it starts happening regularly I’m going to be out some money. Which means I’ll have to ask them to reimburse me for that fee. Awkward.

Do I keep doing the work? If it becomes a regular occurance, do I not send in the new week’s worth of work until I’m sure that the check from the last week has cleared?

And now we’re going to have to keep a nice sized buffer in the checking account to take into account the fact that we can’t count on my paycheck clearing. Usually we keep the checking account a little close to the bone so that the bulk of our money is in an interest-bearing account. (Okay, it’s like 2 percent, but that’s better than nothing, right?) Nothing bounced this time because of the bad check, but that’s because I didn’t go grocery shopping last week. (too lazy and sick.)

Of course, I feel certain that the only reason the check bounced is because the ad company’s clients are having trouble paying. Those clients are beauty shops, car dealerships, shrinks, hardware stores, etc. All of whom are sucking wind in this economy.

It’s one of those moments when the news on the paper comes to real life.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I think you are right to be concerned. Sure, it could be a one-time thing, but if it were me I’d be talking to the powers that be about the bounced check, and I certainly would not eat the fee. It’s their responsibility. I’d simply give them a copy of the fee notice with my account number redacted as if it’s a given that they will pay it. They should – they owe it ethically AND legally (not that I’m a lawyer – only a lawyer can advise. But I’ve watched Judge Judy… 😉 ).

    Is there any way you can go to their bank to cash their checks to avoid a recurrence? If not I’d proceed with caution. I’d likely still submit the work on schedule, unless and until another check bounced. And if does happen again I’d start looking for another stream of income that is more count-onable.

    Good luck!

  2. March 19, 2009 at 5:49 am

    you MUST talk to them. you CANNOT afford to absorb the cost of a bounced check. don’t worry about the confrontation, they already know and they should have called you with an apology and an offer to pay by money order if you’re concerned.
    just think if you had gone grocery shopping…
    BTW, banks clear the largest check first when they process. so if you have 12 checks of $10 each and one check of $200, they’ll bounce the 12 little checks AFTER they bounce the big check. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT CHECK NUMBER, IT ONLY MATTERS WHAT COMES IN THAT NIGHT. and they clear checks OUT before they deposit checks IN. also, they take longer to process the money into your account than it takes to remove from the payer’s account.
    ie the money comes out of xyz’s account on monday, it goes into your account on friday. the bank has the float for 4 days.
    the paper i used to work for, their business has tanked. the owners each made over 150,000/year. in addition to the cost of reorganizing because they are splititng up, their ad revenues have gone down 40%, [economy AND new competition with much lower CPM] so no more freelance work for me. i’d feel sorry for them except i saw this coming 18 months ago and spoke to them 4 times that i had an idea which would help preserve their ad base.
    in the ‘good ole days’ you could call a bank and see if there were sufficient funds to cover it, they will not give out that information any longer.

  3. March 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I am sorry, I hope this issue gets resolved quickly.

  4. December 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your article, keep on writing such exciting posts!!

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