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Shops not accepting cheques


suzieblooz
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I don't like using chip & pin due to the fact the info can end up in the hands of anyone (as in the TK MAXX case), but am loathe to carry large amounts of money about, however lots of shops now refuse to accept cheques. Are they allowed to do that? Banks still issue us with cheque books, they are a ligitimate method of payment, I don't want to spend more that the cheque card guarantee limit so is yet again the case of consumers having to do what the big businesses decide. Asda is the lastest to stop taking cheques, which is fine until you forget your PIN number (on a Sunday when the bank is shut) which means you can't get money out the cashline either. So they lose a sale of £75 and the nice people at Tesco gain a sale of £75. Does anyone know the reasoning behind this?

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Shops don't have to take cheques if they don't want to.

 

I don't know the exact reasoning behind the decision but I'd imagine it's to do with the costs of handling and processing cheques and issues with cheques bouncing that are avoided when using plastic.

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As long as cheques are not legal tender there is no requirement to accept them. The only legal tender in this country is CASH - so that is ALL that shops are by Law required to accept.

 

In the States, there are shops refusing cash OR cheques for certain sales on security grounds - they want the traceability of a credit card transaction. I think any refusal to accept cheques in this country is down to the costs of processing a bounced one. My Wife's business doesn't accept cheques from eBay buyers simply because the bank tells her the cheque has cleared; she sends the item, and three weeks later the cheque arrives back in the post. It's a crippler - so far she's been able to contact all the buyers who this happened with but it was only a matter of time. She now only accepts PayPal on eBay sales but is starting to ramp down eBay as a selling method because of the scariness of their tactics.

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Not quite sure how you meant that to come across, but there's no requirement for anyone (shop or otherwise) to accept cash if they only want to accept payment in some other form.

 

They are at liberty to accept payment in any form that they wish (the term would form an express term of the contract with the customer) but they can insist on cash if they want, however a creditor waives his right to be paid in cash if he agrees to accept cheques or payment cards.

 

So back to suzieblooz's original point - if Asda or Tesco or whoever decide to only accept payment by debit or credit card at some point they're within their rights to do so. In fact the Tesco filling station near me will only accept payment by card between midnight and 6 a.m.

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I was always told (and I'm still looking for the Law now) that anything deemed in Law as "Legal Tender" could NOT be turned down in payment for goods or services. This would obviously include cash however I am still searching for a reference... I'm not sure of your credentials Advoc8 - are you legally qualified or experienced? If you are and you say it's so I may as well stop searching! LOL

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Here we go!

 

Legal tender - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Legal tender or forced tender is payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt denominated in the same currency.

 

See also the section lower down on "Legal Tender in the United Kingdom".

 

Still no Statute reference but I'm getting closer!

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are you legally qualified or experienced
Yes, to both parts of the question.

 

You probably won't find a statute definition of legal tender. I'd also be very wary of website definitions that do not cite any authority, especially wikipedia :D

 

If you have access to it I'd recommend a read of Halsbury's Laws of England, Volume 9(1)(Reissue) paragraph 975 (the main relevant points of which I've summarised in my post above). For copyright reasons I'm not going to cut and paste the content. Halsbury's doesn't go into great depth but it's a good starting point and is a good secondary source.

 

I have seen something similar to the quote you've put in your post number 8 but in the context of requirement to accept legal tender once a debt has been established (possibly as in established by a judgment having been given) but I've not seen an authoritative source for that. I suspect I'd need to resort to paper sources to establish an authority, which I can't do from home.

 

However there is one major point that distinguishes the quote in your post 8 from the OP's scenario of making a shop purchase (which is the scenario I've considered throughout). This point is that when wanting to make a purchase in a shop no debt has been established as the contract has not yet come into existence. The contract the seller would impose on the would-be buyer can incorporate a term requiring a certain form of payment (e.g. by card only) into that contract. If the buyer does not wish to enter into the contract because they object to the term specifying a form of payment the creditor/debtor relationship is not established and no debt exists as such. As there's no debt the point in post 8 is not applicable.

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Thanks for the answers. Guess I'll just have to get over my distrust of chip and pin then!! I can understand the point of cheques bouncing, so I imagine more and more retailers will adopt this policy, which will keep the banks happy as it'll save them a fortune not having to print cheque books. (and of course all the money they save they can pass on to their customers:rolleyes: )

Bank of Scotland account 1 - £2,666 WON

Bank of Scotland account 2 - £2,500 on hold

GE Capital charges -£30 won (hey, every little helps!)

Barclays Partner Finance £425 charges - £225 offer accepted.

 

Finally debt free after 4.5 years, thanks to my Debt Management Plan through Payplan. There is no better feeling :D

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Thanks for the answers. Guess I'll just have to get over my distrust of chip and pin then!! I can understand the point of cheques bouncing, so I imagine more and more retailers will adopt this policy, which will keep the banks happy as it'll save them a fortune not having to print cheque books. (and of course all the money they save they can pass on to their customers:rolleyes: )

 

 

Using chip and pin is far less of a risk than handing over a peice of paper with your sort code, bank account number AND signature on it surely? :-?

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Thanks for the answers. Guess I'll just have to get over my distrust of chip and pin then!! I can understand the point of cheques bouncing, so I imagine more and more retailers will adopt this policy, which will keep the banks happy as it'll save them a fortune not having to print cheque books. (and of course all the money they save they can pass on to their customers:rolleyes: )

 

I got a Chip and Signature card from my bank. It took jumping through some hoops but I got it. I had to claim that I had a numeric version of Dyslexia (can't remember what it's called) and was therefore extremely poor with PINs. I explained that whenever I had to use a PIN, someone close to me had to assist which I felt unfairly compromised my account security.

 

Your bank may be easier to convince; but mine (Smile) almost said "no" even after that. I now sign every time I use my card; sometimes it's a pain in the 'arris because shops aren't expecting it - but it's better than Chip and PIN!!

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Haha, I'm sure most banks will be the same as Smile - Chip & sig move the responsibility back to the bank in cases of fraud - As you may have seen on TV over the past few months, the banks believed it was impossible for fraud with Chip n Pin and any fraud was blamed on the card holder for being negligent with their pin!

 

I think that its now the retailer who is responsible for accepting a signature whereas a pin fraud is between the bank and cardholder.

 

Tom

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I have noticed that many petrol stations now have a sign by the till saying that they no longer accept cheques. So what happens if you fill up then go to the pay point see the sign for the first time and only have a cheque book as means of payment. As a debt has now occured must they accept the cheque as legal tender?

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I had that happen to me at a supermarket and they were really rude and threatened to call the police and have me charged with non payment if I did not pay by means they would accept - ie chip and pin or cash :( won't be using them again :( they said the signs were clear but I didn't spot them till I had filled up. I tried to argue but they wouldn't budge so I ended up paying cash (fortunately had enough on me).

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A precise legal term which is often misunderstood. It means a means of payment which a creditor should not refuse in payment of a debt. For most coins and banknotes there is a maximum amount which a creditor or other person is obliged to accept.

 

that seems to imply for a debt. However when you make an offer to buy a product you are not yet in debt to the shop in question. It's probably to stop dodgy characters saying you owe me £5000 but I won't take cash I'll only take your mothers wedding ring type thing.

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I've heard of some process where you leave them a 7-day IOU in that situation...? I heard it on CAG somewhere, someone'll know.

 

I have been in the situation where I have filled up with petrol and realised that I have left my wallet - this has happened twice in maybe 10 years. Each time the garage has asked me to fill out a form with name/address etc on and amount owed and I have returned the next day with the right money.

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The Royal Mint has this as regards legal tender.

 

Legal tender is only required for paying into a court; outside of this, the parties may agree any form of payment they like. It is an urban myth that anybody other than a court has to accept legal tender as a form of payment.

 

As cheques are a generally accepted method of payment, the business of only having view of a notice at the till for a petrol station is not valid. The contract is entered into at the pump and if they wish not to accept cheques, then it must say so at the pump.

 

I would have written out the cheque and handed it to the cashier; then left. No offence is committed unless the cheque bounces. Our local motorway services states on the pump that cheques are not accepted, but will do so as a last resort.

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surely they cover themselves by saying please ensure you have the funds to pay before dispensing petrol (or similar) which is on most pumps these days. As a cheque isn't legal tender then if thats the only way you have of paying you haven't got the funds to pay.

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yes but funds would be defined as legal tender - it might be well and good having enough gold to pay for the transaction but they are far less likely to accept that than a cheque, even though it has actual intrinsic value whereas a cheque doesn't.

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