Unsigned Check? Don’t Return It!

This article originally appeared in Credit Today, the leading publication for the credit professional.
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“Whether a mistake is intentional or unintentional, we do not allow incorrect checks to tie up our cash flow,” says a Texas credit manager we know, who never returns a check to a customer. Instead she sends the following letter:

ATTN: ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

Gentlemen:

Thank you for your check #3410 dated January 28, 2018, in the amount of $585.38.

While processing this check through our accounts receivable department, we noticed that it was not signed.

However, since we are entitled to the proceeds of this item, we continued to process it with the notation, “Signature guaranteed by ____________c.” Would you please instruct your bank to process this check when it is received?

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and past good business. Please let us serve you again soon.

Sincerely,

“Everyone involved in the transaction–the customer, the customer’s bank, and our own bank–is informed of the error and how and why we corrected it,” she says. “The letter, along with a copy of the corrected check, is sent to the customer and to the paying bank. A copy of the letter is also attached to the corrected, endorsed check, which is then placed for deposit.

“For unsigned checks, our guarantee is typed on the signature line. For checks with varying amounts entered in the numerical and written sections, we correct the wrong amount with the notation Correct amount guaranteed to be (amount). Of course, I adapt the customer’s letter to fit each error,” she says.

“I’ve never had a customer or a bank question or return a check that is handled in this manner,” she concludes. “After all, we are only correcting and guaranteeing that to which we are entitled.”

Thanks to Credit Today’s Tip of the Week.

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