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elbanditoroso's avatar

Ethical obligations to inform a company that didn't deposit a check?

Asked by elbanditoroso (33284points) December 28th, 2017

I had an HVAC company come to do some repair work in early November. The guy did the work, and I wrote him a check. He emailed me a receipt, which I have. So both of us – me and the company – acknowledge that I paid.

It’s now just under two months later. The check has never been negotiated or deposited; it has not shown up as paid on my checking account.

In Georgia, checks are not considered ‘stale’ for six months, so there’s no issue with that.

Ethically, do I have an obligation to phone the HVAC people and say “you guys really ought to cash the check”?

I don’t think I do, because the responsibility is theirs. But it’s a little grey for me.

What’s the collective wisdom?

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8 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Obviously, it’s a personal call. If it was a fairly small local business that did the work, and I like them and the work they did, then yes, I would believe it would be ethical to inform them.
If it was a big ol’ corporation with shoddy financial management, then no, probably not, but I would endeavor to find out if it was a locally owned franchise (then yes, I would) or just one of a corporately owned chain (then no, I probably wouldn’t).

SQUEEKY2's avatar

WOW! @canidmajor you and I totally agree on something, we better make note of this.
Nice answer by the way totally spot on in my opinion.

funkdaddy's avatar

I’m a small local business, from that perspective I think your only obligations are

1) Make sure the money is available in your account, even if the check isn’t cashed right away
2) Provide another check or payment if it’s requested

Those seem basic, but that’s all I’d really think was necessary. They might be between accountants, have bank issues, or have some odd quarterly ritual.

I would give them a call before you totally wrote it out of your account balance, however you do that (balance the check book, transfer funds, whatever). And that might just be easier to do now than in another 4 months.

josie's avatar

I would let them know.
What if their tech lost the check is hoping there won’t be a reckoning.
Put it on yourself and act like you are fussy and are anxious to balance your account or something.

It’s the right thing to do.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@funkdaddy – no problem with the balance; there is alway at least that amount in the bank account.

If it’s requested, of course I would write a check.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It could be that they only make deposits on a particular schedule, like once every quarter or something. As long as you keep the money to clear the check in your account then I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ve help up your end, it’s not your obligation to make sure they’re financially prudent.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

As long as you have a receipt showing that you paid, and you keep enough money to cover it,is it really up to you to see why it hasn’t been cashed?

Let me ask you and anyone else reading this,Example: They owed you a refund for whatever reason and issued a refund check would they follow up to see why you didn’t cash the refund check?
They would have done their part, as you did yours.

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