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Q: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words
Category: Business and Money > Finance
Asked by: jpark-ga
List Price: $2.50
Posted: 13 Oct 2005 11:48 PDT
Expires: 12 Nov 2005 10:48 PST
Question ID: 579864
My wife made a mistake - she wrote in her check $160 in number and
$One thousand sixteen in words. Her bank charged penalty of $300 for
several checks due to the minus balance which was happened by the
check.
Isn't it bank's reponsibility checking out the matter to the customer
when there is a discrepancy between the amounts of number and words?
How is the custom dealing with these kinds of problem and how the law
says?
Answer  
Subject: Re: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words
Answered By: denco-ga on 13 Oct 2005 14:03 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Howdy jpark-ga,

A reminder of the "Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on
Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute
for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal,
investment, accounting, or other professional advice."

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) has been adopted by all of the states with
some variations, but the following is pretty universal.  UCC Article 3 on
negotiable instruments, which includes checks, covers your situation.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/3/article3.htm

" 3-114.  CONTRADICTORY TERMS OF INSTRUMENT.

If an instrument contains contradictory terms, typewritten terms prevail
over printed terms, handwritten terms prevail over both, and words prevail
over numbers."

This "Illinois Legal Aid Online" article gives a good explanation on just
what the above UCC statement means to your circumstances.

"What Do I Do if the Written Amount on a Check is Different from the Number?"
http://www.illinoislegalaid.org//index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=2287

"It would be a tougher call if the words said 'Hundred Dollars,' and the
numbers said '$1,000.00.' But even then, if you choose to cash the check,
you should follow the words-over-numbers rule, and treat it as a $100.00
check.

Following that rule would mean that a check with words that said 'Thousand
Dollars,' and numbers saying '$100.00' is a check for $1,000.00.

Someone who writes such a check shouldn't get too far if they complain about
the amount you cash their check for, since their negligence created the
confusion."

So, no, it is not necessarily the bank's responsibility when there is a
discrepancy between the words and the numbers, and the custom is usually
to follow the UCC.  The UCC is the law when it comes to these matters.

The above said, you should absolutely go up the chain of command of the
bank in question, and request that they reduce or remove the penalties.

If they refuse, then you could go to a local consumer advocate or help
group/person, such as those at local newspapers, radio or television
stations, and see they can place some pressure on the bank.

If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.


Search strategy:

Google search on: checks "written amount" "Uniform Commercial Code"
://www.google.com/search?q=checks+%22written+amount%22+%22Uniform+Commercial+Code%22

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Answer by denco-ga on 14 Oct 2005 11:25 PDT
Apologies.  In my answer:

"... see they can place some pressure on the bank."

should have read:

"... see if they can place some pressure on the bank."
jpark-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you very much for your clear answer.

Comments  
Subject: Re: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words
From: tempworker-ga on 14 Oct 2005 03:53 PDT
 
I KNEW there was something funny about all those checks Ed Mcmahon
always passes out for Publishers Clearing House. They always say
"$10,000,000" or "$20,000,000," but if you look closely, it really
says someting like "ten millionths of one dollar" or some such
claptrap.
Subject: Re: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words
From: denco-ga on 14 Oct 2005 21:12 PDT
 
Wish it was better news, jpark-ga.  Appreciate the 5 star rating.

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Amount Discrepancy in Check Between Number and Words
From: myoarin-ga on 15 Oct 2005 03:56 PDT
 
Now that the question has been answered, I am curious how someone
could inadvertantly write a check for "one thousand six hundred", and
to whom it was issued?
Most of us don't write checks for "one thousand" very often,
especially if our account balance averages in the hundreds.  Was it
cashed by the issuer, who recieved $160 (at that bank?), and the bank
then debited the account the larger amount, creating an accounting
difference for the teller?  That should have been corrected within 24
hours?  IF the check was cashed at another bank or deposited by
someone else, of course, there would be several days delay, and the
person's bank could not recognize that the larger amount was not
intended.

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