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  1. #1

    Exclamation Is it Illegal to Stop Payment on a Check After Receiving Services

    My question involves business law in the state of: Pennsylvania.

    Is it illegal in the state of PA to put a stop payment on a check for services rendered? I want to verify I'm right before I send out a letter to the 'customer'. I put customer in quotes because we still haven't been paid. I'm calling it a stop payment on services rendered because there's no product that we can take back.

    I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but I work for a metal fabrication shop and we did a lot of work on this woman's horse trailer. After she picked up her trailer, she tried to say that our work on her trailer caused a part on her truck to fail so she put a stop payment on her check. We are saying the part on her truck failed because of the way her trailer hitch was wired, so the fault lies in the workmanship of the person who did the wiring on her trailer hitch not our workmanship.

    I haven't finished my research on that aspect, but I'm pretty sure I can prove that the fault is in the trailer hitch. However, that's not the point, she put a stop payment on a check for services rendered and I thought that was illegal in PA. My instinct tells me that she did it to ensure that the situation would be resolved and she felt that her check was her only leverage. My preliminary research says that her leverage is her right to sue and that the stop payment is illegal. I figure since I have this website at my fingertips, I should verify my thoughts. Thanks to all that help me in this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    If you could prove that she never actually intended to pay you in the first place, which ain't easy, then yes it would likely be criminal. In all likelihood, local law enforcement would punt and tell you it's a civil matter. You will probably need to sue her to get your money back anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    It doesn't seem that a Stop Payment order is covered under PA's Bad Check law. It may be covered under another statute but I can't find it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    Quote Quoting office507work
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    Is it illegal in the state of PA to put a stop payment on a check for services rendered?
    Not a crime, if that's what you are asking. Read the criminal statute:
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/...tn=5&subsctn=0

    The stop pay doesn't meet the requirements of a crime if she actually had the money to cover the check.

    You'll have to sue her.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    My research also told me in all likelihood that law enforcement wouldn't arrest her for it. I'm writing a letter to her to inform her that if the check isn't paid for we will sue. In that letter I want to include that a stop payment on a check for services rendered is illegal, I just want to make sure that my including that is based on fact not based on what I think is true. I just want to make sure that there is an actual law in PA that says putting a stop payment on a check for services rendered is illegal.

    That statute has to do with NSF checks, not stop payment, but thanks anyway.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    Quote Quoting office507work
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    My research also told me in all likelihood that law enforcement wouldn't arrest her for it. I'm writing a letter to her to inform her that if the check isn't paid for we will sue. In that letter I want to include that a stop payment on a check for services rendered is illegal, I just want to make sure that my including that is based on fact not based on what I think is true. I just want to make sure that there is an actual law in PA that says putting a stop payment on a check for services rendered is illegal.
    There isn't and threatening criminal prosecution is not a smart move. Simply say legal action will be taken to collect the debt.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    There isn't and threatening criminal prosecution is not a smart move. Simply say legal action will be taken to collect the debt.
    I don't think I'm threatening criminal prosecution, but I could be wrong. Here's what I want to include: "my research revealed that in the state of Pennsylvania a stop payment on a check for services rendered can be considered a crime. Don’t you think your possibly criminal actions would be a factor in a magistrate’s decision? I do." Originally, I had written "my research revealed that in the the state of Pennsylvania it is illegal to put a stop payment on a check for services rendered. Don’t you think your illegal actions would be a factor in a magistrate’s decision? I do." But after I received a few answers here, I realized there might not be a law on the books for that particular situation and I might be using too strong of a wording and changed illegal in both sentences. In the sentence before that, I say my research indicated the law is on my side and I could leave it at that, but she has been a total b___ about it and in her letter to us she attacks the business's reputation by saying we are doing things illegally and have a special relationship with the magistrate to ensure decisions go our way. She also attacked my reputation by saying I was irate with her when I wasn't.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    Quote Quoting office507work
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    I don't think I'm threatening criminal prosecution, but I could be wrong. Here's what I want to include: "my research revealed that in the state of Pennsylvania a stop payment on a check for services rendered can be considered a crime. Don’t you think your possibly criminal actions would be a factor in a magistrate’s decision? I do." Originally, I had written "my research revealed that in the the state of Pennsylvania it is illegal to put a stop payment on a check for services rendered. Don’t you think your illegal actions would be a factor in a magistrate’s decision? I do." But after I received a few answers here, I realized there might not be a law on the books for that particular situation and I might be using too strong of a wording and changed illegal in both sentences. In the sentence before that, I say my research indicated the law is on my side and I could leave it at that, but she has been a total b___ about it and in her letter to us she attacks the business's reputation by saying we are doing things illegally and have a special relationship with the magistrate to ensure decisions go our way. She also attacked my reputation by saying I was irate with her when I wasn't.
    But your research, at least here, hasn't shown that "a stop payment on a check for services rendered can be considered a crime". It is an empty threat. That said she may not know that it isn't a crime. So the simple sentence that includes "legal action will be taken to collect the debt" is a true statement in that you may sue and it may make her think the police are going to show up.

    I just realized that you wrote, "That statute has to do with NSF checks, not stop payment, but thanks anyway." above. That statute is the bad check law in PA. It doesn't include stop pays because stop pays aren't a criminal act in your PA. If you have any information saying otherwise please share it.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    But your research, at least here, hasn't shown that "a stop payment on a check for services rendered can be considered a crime". It is an empty threat. That said she may not know that it isn't a crime. So the simple sentence that includes "legal action will be taken to collect the debt" is a true statement in that you may sue and it may make her think the police are going to show up.

    I just realized that you wrote, "That statute has to do with NSF checks, not stop payment, but thanks anyway." above. That statute is the bad check law in PA. It doesn't include stop pays because stop pays aren't a criminal act in your PA. If you have any information saying otherwise please share it.
    When I wrote "that statute..." that was a reply to someone else, didn't realize it wouldn't attach to that person's response (this is all new to me). Anyway, your right on both counts, I don't have information saying a stop payment is a criminal act. Placing a stop payment on a check isn't criminal, if it was, banks wouldn't let you do it. That much I do know, it's the fact that it's for services rendered (and not for a product) that I think is criminal. If a stop payment is placed on a check for a product it's to ensure the product will be replaced, it's leverage and as far as I know that's ok. Since the check is for services rendered and that can not be replaced, it might involve a different law (theft of services comes to mind immediately). However, I can't find information that says it is, but many people tell me it is, but they aren't lawyers and the business can't afford the legal fees involved to consult with a lawyer to make sure. That's why I'm posting here. You're also right on the second count, it is an empty threat (sort of). I'm hoping to scare her enough that she pays for the check and we don't have to take it into the court system, quite honestly, we don't have the money to sue in a civil suit. But if the theft of services law is in play in this situation, I will leave in my statements about it being possibly criminal and I have no problem with contacting law enforcement. So, if at the end of today, no one can definitively tell me it's illegal, I will leave it at the law is on my side and take out my 2 stronger sentences (that only serve to scare her) . However if someone can definitively tell me it is illegal, I will leave them in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Is a Stop Payment on a Check for Services Rendered Illegal in Pa

    What she did would in fact be illegal in some of not most states. It isn't in your state. It also makes no difference if it was for a good or service.

    The bank allows stop payment for many reasons.

    Here are the PA laws on theft of services.

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