Bad checks have a statute of limitation – typically 2 years! (see cancelled checks below)

If a debt collector is collecting a bad check debt which is past the statute of limitations, or you believe you are a victim of illegal or unfair debt collection practices, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:

The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

First, we need to be clear on the difference between a “bad check” and a check written with the “intent to defraud”. In simple terms, a bad check is usually the result of poor math calculations or your bank making a miscalculation. In either case, your intentions were good when you wrote the check. You thought you had enough money to cover the check and can show where the mistake was made thus proving your good intentions. Crooks, on the other hand, write bad checks with the intention of ripping people off. Writing checks when you know you do not have the money to cover them is a serious crime that, if caught, can land you in jail or even prison.

Make no mistake about it, writing bad checks is always illegal. However, just about every state has a statute of limitations (SoL) on the collection of bad checks; typically 2 or 3 years. If you receive a collection notice or call about a bad check, don’t panic! First, check to see if the Statute of Limitations has expired.

Next, decide whether you want (or can afford) to pay the debt. If you plan to pay the debt, be sure that you are only paying what state law allows. Check your state law to determine what fee(s) (if any) collectors can add to the face value of the check. Many states limit collection fees to a certain amount such as $100 or to a percentage of the face value of the check and prohibit interest charges.

The FDCPA, Section 808 makes it an unfair practice to collect “any amount (including any interest, fee, charge or expense . . .) unless such an amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by State law.”

Debt collectors may attempt to collect a fee or charge in addition to the debt if either:

(A) the charge is expressly provided for in the contract creating the debt and the charge is not prohibited by state law, or

(B) the contract is silent but the charge is otherwise expressly permitted by state law.

Conversely, debt collectors may not collect an additional amount if either:

(A) state law expressly prohibits collection of the amount or;

(B) the contract does not provide for collection of the amount and state law is silent.

NOTE: If state law permits collection of reasonable fees, the reasonableness (and consequential legality) of these fees is determined by state law. So, unpaid debts sent to collection agencies, whether closed or charged off MAY still accrue charges and fees IF the credit contract allows it and State law does not prohibit it. Many states do limit the amount that can be charged and, if the State does have a law, it overrules the credit contract.

Cancelled Checks: When you write a check, it’s like writing a promissory note that says the funds are available and when the instrument (in this case a check) is presented to your bank, funds will be withdrawn from your account to cover the amount of the check. When this happens, the debt is, in effect cancelled, thus the term “cancelled check”.

However, the same term can also be used when you cancel a check. For instance, after sending a check, you change your mind, you can ask your bank to cancel (stop payment) on the check. This means the bank will not honor the check if presented. Banks usually charge a fee for this service.


  1. Marie says

    I wrote a check for $51.45 in December, 1996,I did not know this check was bad since I never received a bank notice or letter from merchant. In January, 1998 the merchant filed an affidavit against, which was never delivered to me, in February, 1998 a warrant was issued for my arrest, again I was never served with a warrant.I lived in this county for 7 years after charges were filed. On July 26,2014 upon returning home from work I checked my mail and there was an envelope from Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Dept, enclosed was a copy of a 1998 affidavit and a copy of a warrant ordered in 1998. The warrant is not a capias warrant. 18 years has passed and this is the first I have ever heard of this $51.45 check.

    • says

      That sounds odd. Claims for bad checks, and civil arrests warrants, usually expire faster than the timelines you state, and it seems you may be the victim of some sort of scam. The Debt Help Lawyers at this site will review any debt or credit related documents for free and tell you if this is something you can ignore or if its something you need to handle. You can fax any documents you want reviewed to 866-773-6152 and get a FREE no obligation case review, just make sure to include your contact info.

    • Dan S says

      I came across the same issue here in Missouri last week after being pulled over for speeding. I have not been in the state since 1995 when the check was written. The warrant is only for that county and has no extradition outside of there. It has been 20 years.

  2. Jacqueline Johnson says

    I took out a payday loan 10-17-2008. I made about 4 payments and then could not afford to pay on the loan any longer. A company is now calling me stating they have assumed this debt from the payday loan company and will be filing criminal charges against me for fraud because the electronic debit did not go through back in 2008 unless I pay them right now over the telephone. Can this collection company continue to try and collect on this debt which is now almost 6 years old.. I am located in the state of California

  3. Alan Paradis says

    I had taken out a payday loan in early 2008. After not being about to pay on it, the debt was sold off to a debt collection company. I filed bankruptcy in 2010 and it was discharged in 2011. As far as I can tell this debt was put on my bankruptcy. Now all if a sudden there is some mediation company calling me stating that I need to pay this debt or they will send the case off the the courts and that I will be arrested and charged with 3 counts of felony charges. I had called the original debtor and they said they never contracted any mediator to collect this debt and that it was sold off to a debt collector in august 2008.

    • says

      UNTRUE. Don’t worry, your debt got sold to a bottom feeder just looking to prey on the weak. Pay nothing, and FYI as a general rule, collectors who make threats like this often are not viable fly by night companies you can simply ignore.

  4. joshua says

    Ok I wrote a check in 2007 of October this woman calls me and says she will be issuing a warrant for my arrest so I told the woman about statue of limitations and she says the law had changed so I just hung up on her as I figured she was trying to scam me for the money anyways she knew she was wrong

  5. loyal says

    I post dated a check for $2,000 as down payment on a car, the dealer told me if i didnt have the money the people would work with me, well several weeks later the motor went out and then the transmission, i picked the dealer and he said he would repair all the repairs and take care of the check for the down payment, well he didnt that was in 2011, now dec. 2014 im getting calls saying a warrant will be issued for MY arrest. I even paid the collector the settlement portion of it and there still threating me.

  6. Heather says

    National Recovery Services is calling me dating that I took out a Payday loan in 2005 and it is unpaid. They say my check did not clear. And that they are going to serve me with a court order tomorrow to pursue me for a fraudulent charge and the $255 plus penalties for a total amount of $530. Is there a statue of limitations protecting me from this? It has been NINE years.

    • says

      There are limitations, yes. And National is not going to do what it says, because it cannot. But it has violated the FDCPA, and you are entitled to money from them for that. Call 888 595 9111 now and get the Fair Debt process started.

  7. Rickey New says

    is there limitations on check collection in Georgia, I have a law firm saying they have a check from 17 years ago for $300 and want me to pay $600 and there was never any reason they couldn’t find me they had my address and I’ve lived here over 20 years! Thanks for any help!

    • says

      There are! What’s the law firm’s name and what was the original debt for? Call us and we will get you the help you need, 888-595-9111, free no obligation consultation.

  8. Joy says

    I took out a payday loan in July 2007. After not being able to pay, the debt was sold off to some company that keeps calling me with “unknown” numbers. If I didn’t pick up then they would have someone else call. They would say that they will be filing criminal charges against me for fraud and that they would go to the district attorney. They also stated that my account at that time was closed and that I had intended to defraud. I had no intentions of defrauding anyone. I paid them $400 and I still have my receipt from that. It’s been 1 1/2 years since that transaction and they just recently started contacting me again. I am not sure what to do.

    • says

      Usually, when people make threats such as these the collection company is not a real, viable entity and are collecting on scare tactics alone. But, there are collectors and companies that push this envelope, so keep a call log, send it to us and we will review it and hunt down the callers and make them pay you! Get started today by calling us at 888-595-9111, we will open a file for you and protect you! No cost to you.

  9. Ms Johonson says

    The Hot Ck division called a relative of mines looking on 1/28/15 saying I had 4 hot checks written all over $1500 each 5/09 from JP-5 a small town the checks were file in that office from merchant in 2009, but same county and four warrants have been issued for my arrest as of last week1/15 no exact day was given.

    Also, I served fifteen months in state jail released
    11/2014 on theft by check on checks written in 2009 the check were from same county, but file in another town where prosuctor attorney bared false witness and stacked false documents to win the case and changed it from theft by check to theft of property after sentencing in 2012. Does statue limitation apply at this new offense from 2009. What can I do?

    • says

      Have criminal charges been filled against you for this alleged theft or is this a collector making empty threats? The attorneys on this site handle a wide array of consumer rights issues. If you are dealing with criminal charge, I’d suggest reaching out to an attorney in your area that handles these types of cases. If this is a fair debt rights issue, please reach out to us for a free review. 888-595-9111.

  10. ashley says

    I wrote a bad check in 08 and have heard nothing I moved out of town but the DMV has my new address I live in Illinois is it past the statue of limitations for them to persuelegal action ??

    • says

      The Statute of Limitations on debt is a rule that sets a time limit within which a creditor may sue you for payment of a debt. The length of time varies from state to state. If a debt collector threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the state statute of limitations, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When a statute of limitation expires, it does not mean that the debt goes away, it only means you can use it as a defense to stop collectors from collecting thru the court system. Collectors can still try to collect thru other methods. Under the right circumstances the debt statute of limitations can be renewed for just about any type of debt. If you are being contacted by a debt collector and think your fair debt rights are being violated, Fair Debt Case Review or call toll free 888-595-9111 to request a free case review.

  11. Debra Fields says

    I took out a payday loan back in Aug 2003 in the state of Indiana. I have never heard anything regarding this check. I moved in 2005 out of state. I have received a email from ACS Inc stating that if I settle out of court, but if I go to court I will be charged with a violation of federal banking regulation, collateral check fraud and theft by deception. Now it there not a statue of limitations on this. The money was in my account at the time and I was not deceiving anybody. I had been paying on it but got to overwelmed at that time.

    • says

      Thank you for question. Consumers do have rights under a variety of laws designed to protect you, including protecting you from this collector or creditor’s harassment, repetitive calls and verbal abuse. A few additional questions may help us sort out the issue. Have you received a collection letter? Did you dispute the debt with the collector and request validation for the account? If yes, did the collector respond to your dispute in writing? Take advantage of this site’s FREE, no obligation case review and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Make the collector follow the law or pay you, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  12. Concerned says

    Hi. I got a payday loan back in 2007 in the state of California $300 or $500, due to financial problems I was unable to pay them back. They originally attempted to cash the electronic check twice and both times it came back as NFS. Due to the NFS status of the account I had to close the checking account. They attempt to cash the check again but come back as a closed account. Now, 8 years now I have a law group collections dept. calling me telling me that they are filing 2 counts of criminal charges and place an order for my arrest! They also released loan information to family members without my permission …3rd. party disclosure?

    My question is what is the statue of criminal charges for “bad” check in the state of California?

    • says

      The collection tactics you describe sound fishy. The Statute of Limitations on debt is a rule that sets a time limit within which a creditor may sue you for payment of a debt. The length of time varies from state to state. If a debt collector threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the state statute of limitations, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read this section of our website on bad checks Take advantage of this site’s FREE, no obligation case review and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Make the collector follow the law or pay you, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  13. Jennifer says

    I took out a payday loan in 2013. I made several payments on the loan but I was in a bad accident and my car was totaled. Long story short I lost my job and have been without a job since. I moved in with friends. Today I received an email from them stating that I owed them for the debt and I asked for the amount and date, which he responded. $400.00 on feb 13 2013. I then told him I don’t deny the debt and if they will work with me on repaying the debt, I have no problem paying it. He responded again saying since I didn’t have a job I could pay $50.00 a month until it was paid in full. I had no issue with this because it seemed fair and reasonable. I asked him to send me western union information and I would make my first payment next week because I needed a few days to come up with the money. I even stated any extra money I came across I would apply to the debt to pay it off faster. In his return email he said I would be getting a court summons soon, when I asked why, I agreed to pay the debt, he responded by saying it needed to be paid today or they would not help me. I asked him how he could contact someone that’s been unemployed for two years and expect them to make a payment right then and there. I responded to his email, acknowledged the debt, agreed to pay per his agreement but I only needed one week to make the first payment and would make a payment on the first of each month after. How is it fair for them to do that?

    • says

      You may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Give us a call and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Additionally, you may also benefit from re-prioritizing your debt through debt settlement by resolving these old account for less than what is owed, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  14. walter says

    apparently in 1996 i wrote a bad check in the amount of 218.00. today 3/11/2015 i received a letter stating i have a warrant for my arrest. i have had a number of background checks recently for jobs and no arrest record has been detected. i have a criminal history report that i received from a local police department and there is no record of any active warrants. i have researched the letter address information and it all shows to be accurate. isn’t there a SOL on this?

    • says

      Sounds like a non-viable debt collector. However, our Debt Help Lawyers can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation if they are a viable company, you may entitled to a damage award of up to $1000. Save the letter and start a call log give us a call now and share the details with one of our legal assistants 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring out how to help you!

  15. Martina French says

    I took out a payday loan 9-28-12 and had mutliple payday loans. I became burdened with the payments and contacted a financial company to help. They sent each one a notification to respond to in a timely manner because they were either not legal to operate in the state of Oklahoma or their interest rates were illegal. I closed my bank account so they couldn’t debit any more payments. 2 years later (yesterday) I got an automated call saying I had committed fraud with a bad check. They said they sent me a letter 1-27-15 to respond in 30 days. They did not send that letter. Now since I haven’t responded they said they got permission from the DA’s office in my county to file charges. Can they do this? Thank you.

    • says

      It sure sounds like a non-viable debt collector. If they wanted to sue you for the debt, they will file a lawsuit, no need to get permission from the DA to file a civil lawsuit.
      Do not admit to owing anything, I would suggest that if they call again get the name of the collector, their address, account number and send a dispute letter. If they won’t give you any of their information, ignore them.
      If they respond to you in writing please contact us, the debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

  16. mark hosri says

    I wrote bad checks like 10 of them 23 years ago , the sum of them arround 2000 dollars , and i left USA , i would like to visit USA , i need to know what will happen on border when i enter

  17. mike c says

    I would appreciate some help with my question.

    I owe my previous landlord for unpaid rent. This is going back to 2012. I wrote him a check $5,900. A friend of mine told me she lend me the money to write the check, so I wrote it in advance as the landlord was pressuring me to do. Unfortunately my friend could not lend me the money after I had already written the check. I figured it was no big deal, because my father had been friends with the landlord for decades.

    When I told the landlord that I could not come up with the money, he hurried up and tried to cash the check, so he could hold it over my head and try to threaten me in order to get money from me.

    We have since moved and we’ve been paying him little by little every month. Unfortunately I get laid off during the winter months, so I stopped paying him a few months ago. He showed up at my house yesterday and told me that I better give him money, otherwise he would use that check and have me arrested.

    Has the limitations past? Its been about 3 year . Should I worry about going to jail? Can he still hold this check over me and threaten me with it? Some insight on this is appre coated. Thanks.

    • says

      When did you last make a payment to your landlord? Has the landlord sued you? Some additional detail will help us better answer your question. You may have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, it sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

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