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Bouncing a cheque


allanb

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I know that the consequences of bouncing a cheque in France can be serious (compulsory notification to the Banque de France, 5-year prohibition on using a cheque book, etc). I've just finished reading a fairly lengthy article on this on a government website operated by a thing called the CCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes), which sounds authoritative. But it just says what your bank is required to do - there's no mention of any measure of protection if the lack of funds was caused by somebody else's error.

I'm interested because of a recent problem with three erroneous debits to my bank account by a certain large and well-known department store. Two of the payments were finally corrected after many phone calls; I'm still waiting for the third to be put right.

It turned out that there had been purchases on credit by another customer, and they debited my bank account instead of his. I should explain that I had signed a direct debit authorization even though I wasn't asking for credit. The store has admiitted its error and has me an apologetic letter and even a modest gift by way of compensation. I think it was an innocent mistake, just a little weakness in their accounting controls (it can happen to anyone - think of Société Générale!)

Fortunately the amounts were not big enough to cause a problem with any cheques I had written. But that was pure luck - if they can make a mistake with €50 they can make one with €500.

Has anyone been through the experience of innocently bouncing a cheque through a third party's error, and if so, what happened?
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No, but I have had a number of occasions where I have been close, because of late payments to me or, like you larger than expected debits which were later put right.

Don't forget that this applies specifically to cheques, so I have become very wary of using them, and rely on using my carte bleue, unless I am sure the funds will be there.

I have also developed a good relationship with my 'conseilleur' who knows that if I go and ask for a temporary higher limit on my découverte all wil be paid back correctly.

I have sometimes taken this precaustion when I have not been certain of the dates when certain payments/debits will fall, but it costs a little to arrange.

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Grosland wrote: "Don't forget that this applies specifically to cheques, so I have become very wary of using them, and rely on using my carte bleue, unless I am sure the funds will be there."

That's a good point, but a cheque is sometimes the only practical way - e.g. to pay an invoice received by mail from a distant supplier.

Yet another reason for hoping that the virement system finds its way to France soon!
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[quote user="allanb"]Grosland wrote: "Don't forget that this applies specifically to cheques, so I have become very wary of using them, and rely on using my carte bleue, unless I am sure the funds will be there."

That's a good point, but a cheque is sometimes the only practical way - e.g. to pay an invoice received by mail from a distant supplier.

Yet another reason for hoping that the virement system finds its way to France soon![/quote]

I don't quite understand this point.

You can pay by virement:

http://www.clesdelabanque.com/Web/Cles/Content.nsf/DocumentsByIDWeb/6WEHER?OpenDocument

and note: 'Le virement est harmonisé au niveau européen à partir de janvier 2008'
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[quote user="allanb"]Has anyone been through the experience of innocently bouncing a cheque through a third party's error, and if so, what happened?[/quote]

Some years ago, sort of the same happened.  The cheque was honoured, though, rather than bounced.  We rang the bank when we realised what had happened (an insurance company had taken a year's worth of house and car insurance premiums instead of a month's worth) and the bank (BNP) said don't worry, no probs.  No charges were incurred.

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I recall that if you have taken the insurance that every bank tries to push on you when you open an account with them, then they will be helpful if you are suddenly in the red for whatever reason, or if you have lost your check book, etc...

When I did cancel this hidden insurance (I had never been aware we had agreed to it when we opened our account), I was reminded that we would no longer be covered for above eventualities. It used to be only a few euros a month (6, 7, 8?) but I objected to it in principle, seeing it as a stealth bank charge....

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