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Confused re cheque clearing - help

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On Tuesday I wrote a cheque for just under £500 to a painter decorator. At the time I wrote it, I did not have funds to pay it in my account but it is a joint account and my husband had agreed to pay some money in. Long story short, he didn't pay it in.


On Friday I noticed the cheque debiting the account and taking it £200 overdrawn. We have no overdraft facility and I would expect such a cheque to therefore be returned unpaid. I went into my branch to see if they could tell me if it would be returned. They said they couldn't but they could stop the cheque. I asked them to do this for me (so that I could avoid charges and explain to the decorator and pay in two instalments) and they said they had stopped the cheque and it would re-credit my account later that day.


By 8pm it had not re-credited so I phoned the bank. They said the cheque was being paid. I queried why when there were no funds and we do not have a good credit rating. I said I had been told the cheque had been stopped. They put me through to a customer care department where they said they would recredit the cheque and 'ask the payee to pay the money back'. At the time I was so relieved to not be £200 overdrawn (with no money then accessible to me at all, from any account) that I just said thank you. They even offered me £25 as a sorry for telling me they had stopped it when they hadn't. My bank statement still shows the cheque having gone out but a credit for the value of the cheque from 'customer care'.


Now in the cold light of day I am wondering what they actually meant. Presumably the money would normally credit the payee's a/c on Monday. Will it not arrive? Or will it arrive then disappear the next day? Will they actually phone up the payee and say pay it back and if so, why on earth would they?


I want to pay this bill as soon as I can but if my husband does not help I cannot pay it in full till 21st of this month. If the cheque recredits I fully expect the bank to take back their credit and I will then pay what I can to the decorator and pay the balance on 21st. But what happens if my bank can't get the funds back? Is that their loss or will they redebit and put me overdrawn again? Very confused - and also very confused as to why on earth they would let me go £200 overdrawn when they won't give me a planned overdraft of £50!!!!

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I don't know the answer to that one, but I do know that if the bank puts you overdrawn by cashing the cheque when they have already refused you an ovedrdraft, then that is equivilent to a forced loan and you refuse to pay any overdraft charges.


As far as I am concerned, no overdraft facility means cheque bounce not paid to rip you off with unarranged overdraft charges.

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As your bank has now agreed to stop the cheque, they will contact your painter's bank and advise them that the payment has to be returned. So, in theory the payment should not register

on the painter's account at all.

Then that £500 credit which should have gone to your painter will be returned to your account to put it back in credit. I don't think there is much chance that the other bank will refuse to

return the payment as all the banks work together in these circumstances.


If they give you an overdraft, for some strange reason it appears that it will be for a year before being reviewed. Which might have been difficult to get agreed if you do not have a great

credit score. Whereas your bank know that your salaries will be paid in presumably by the end of the month and thus put you back in credit. In the meantime however, they will have ratcheted

up a fair amount in charges.

Keep an eye on them this month as they may try and charge for more than just the £12 or so it costs to stop a cheque.

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Also phone the painter and let him know what the score is, nothing worse than expecting to receive payment for work carried out then finding out you haven't been, I'm sure he'll be happy with a part payment until you can settle in full.

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

If in doubt, you should seek the opinion of a Qualified Professional.

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