How much do I pay for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to enforce payment of my check?
Nothing! This service is free to merchants and other victims of bad checks. The Check Enforcement Program requires the check writer to pay the victim the full amount of the check plus a victim’s service fee. The check writer also pays the administrative costs of the Program.
How do I register for the Program?
You can register on-line or by calling the Check Enforcement Program at 1-888-347-4285. You will receive your Merchant’s Number via U.S. Mail. As soon as you are registered, you can begin to submit bad checks you have received.
If I have stores in another county, can I also submit the bad checks passed at those stores?
For a check to qualify, it must have been physically passed within Loudoun County. Bad checks passed in other counties may be submitted to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for the county in which they were passed. Not all counties have a Program similar to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Check Enforcement Program. Contact the local Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to see if you can submit the check to them.
When will I receive the money the Program recovers?
Any restitution – including a victim’s service fee – that is received by the Check Enforcement Program is passed on to the victim within seven days of receipt of payment from the check writer.
Why can’t I submit any check that was refused by the bank?
Certain checks are not eligible for the Check Enforcement Program. Some of these are considered civil matters. Some checks are considered more serious criminal matters and the check writer is not eligible for a diversion program and must face prosecution. Some bad checks are impossible to prosecute because proper identification was not taken at the time of the transaction. Some checks do not qualify as valid payment instruments because of no signature or no amount entered.
NOTE: If you are unsure whether a check qualifies for the Check Enforcement Program, submit it anyway. If the check does not qualify, it will be returned with an explanation of why it did not qualify.
What can I do about bad checks that don’t qualify for the Check Enforcement Program?
If your check does not qualify for the Check Enforcement Program you may consider turning the check over to a private collection agency or seeking recovery through other civil remedies.
What do I do if I think a check is forged?
Forged checks should immediately be submitted to your local law enforcement agency.
Why do I have to contact the check writer first?
It is good business practice to give a check writer an opportunity to make a check good. Honest people make honest mistakes and by letting them know, you can save hard feelings and potentially keep a good customer. A sample demand letter is provided on this site that is intended to be a cordial but firm notification. If you have notified the check writer and he or she fails to respond within five (5) days, you should immediately submit the check to the Check Enforcement Program.
Why can’t the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office take all the non-complying check writers to court?
Checks are a legal document. Checks must be complete and the various elements such as signature, address, and other identification must be verifiable. That’s why it is so important that merchants follow the Program Guidelines when they accept any check.
What can I do to make sure a check qualifies for Program?
The Program Guidelines that are provided on this site outline the steps that a person should take to ensure that a check is handled properly at the time of the transaction. If any of these steps are overlooked, the check may not qualify for the Check Enforcement Program. Please download a copy of the Program Guidelines and share it with all management and personnel who handle bad checks. Go over your store policy for handling bad checks - in detail. If you need help developing a solid set of check handling policies, please contact the Check Enforcement Program.
Can I get a service fee for the bad check from the Program?
Yes. The Check Enforcement Program can require the check writer to pay the full amount of the check plus a victim’s service fee to help cover the costs that a victim incurs in handling the bad check. This is a requirement of the Program that check writers must comply with to satisfy their responsibility. If they fail to reimburse the victim’s service fee – even if they pay the full amount of the check – they may still be subject to prosecution.
Why can’t I get the posted service fee I normally charge for a returned check?
The Check Enforcement Program is allowed by law to require check writers to pay a nominal service fee to help cover the costs that were incurred by the victim.
Can I put more than one check on a Check Complaint Form?
Yes. You can put multiple checks on a single complaint form BUT, all the checks on a single complaint form must have been received from a single check writer.
What can I do about a bad check that is returned because the Program can’t prosecute the case?
When a check is returned by the Program, a letter will accompany it that states the specific reason it could not be enforced. If your check does not qualify for the Check Enforcement Program you may consider turning the check over to a private collection agency or seeking recovery through other civil remedies.