Returned Check Policies

Here are the results of a quick poll taken in January of 2009 on policies in Georgia public libraries relating to checks that are returned for insufficient funds:

• Some libraries charge $25 or $30 for a returned check, while others do not charge a fee imposed by the library above bank fees.

• Most or all of the libraries who charge fees have it in their policy manual, either printed or online, and some documentation of library procedures in different scenarios.

• Some, but not all, libraries who charge their own fees have such statements posted on the doors, at checkout, and/or in their gift stores.

• Georgia Code Section 16-9-20 deals with this. It doesn’t require that the policy be posted, but in the event of prosecution for deposit account fraud, the accepted evidence is a timely notice with certain suggested content in the notice, sent to the person who wrote the bad check by certain types of signature-verified delivery. Here we are thinking that if we just make a phone call, it would hasten resolution to say that, if we have to send that written notice, it would serve as evidence in court if they end up there. Magistrate court requires proof of having sent this notice as evidence with which to proceed with collection.

• The ceiling on fees charged by the recipient of a bad check is $30 or 5% of the face amount, whichever is greater, as stated in the Code and verified by later court cases.

• At least two library systems do not allow payments to be made with checks and require cash or plastic for payment.