Suing for NSF or Stop Pay Checks

suing for a bounced check in california small claims court smIf a person writes you a bad check, either due to insufficient funds or writing it and then stopping payment on it, you may be able to sue them in a California Small Claims Court.

The law may even allow you to also recoup damages equivalent to three times the value of the check (up to a maximum of $1,500). However, you must satisfy a few conditions before you bring your suit.

First, be sure to forward a demand letter to the check writer. The letter must be certified with a return receipt and retain a copy of the letter and receipt. The check writer has 30 days to pay you; if they don’t you may sue.

If the check writer fails to pay you after your demand, and you decide to move forward with your lawsuit, be sure to bring the following paperwork to your court hearing:

  • The copy of your demand letter (with the signed certified mail receipt proving you mailed the letter).
  • All documents related to your case. For example, you could show the judge a copy of the bad check, your bank statements, and any written or oral communication between you and the check writer.

For more information on bad checks and the California Small Claims Court, take a look at the California Department of Consumer Affairs guide here.

Once a judge rules in your favor, it is your responsibility to collect on your money judgement award. However, enforcing your California Small Claims Court judgment can be tricky. It takes a professional with extensive knowledge navigating recovery actions. If you are owed a court judgment by a party that won’t pay up, submit your case here. We may be able to turn that piece of paper into cash!