Sue for a Bad Check

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If someone writes you a bad check, you can sue for 3 times the amount of the check, up to an additional $1,500 (maximum) plus the original amount of the check.

How do I sue for a bad check?

  1. Send a bad check demand letter to the person who wrote the check by certified mail with return receipt requested. In your letter, demand to be paid within 30 days by cash or money order the following amounts: the amount of the check, the cost of certified mail and the service fee, charged by your bank up to $25 and up to $35 for each subsequent check.
    Click here to see a sample bad check demand letter. Click here for help writing a bad check demand letter.
  2. Then wait 30 days. If you aren’t paid in 30 days, the full amount of the check, plus the cost of certified mail, plus your bank fees, then sue in small claims court for the amount of the check, plus the statutory damages (Civil Code section 1719) of 3 times the amount of the check, up to an additional $1,500.

What should I bring to my hearing?

  • A copy of the demand letter you sent.
  • Proof from the post office that you sent the letter certified mail.
  • Any other papers you need to prove your case. For example, bank statements, notes about your conversations, or any other letters to or from the check writer.

Common Disputes Heard in Small Claims Court


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