Check 21 tips for consumers from Consumers
Check 21 is a sweeping new federal
law that takes away your ability to get back your original paper
This complicated law gives you
some rights, but those rights depend on a variety of factors, including
how the merchant and the bank decide to process your check.
Ask for a recredit in writing: If something
goes wrong with your checking account, make a written request that
your bank recredit (return) the funds to your account.
You have a right to recredit in some cases, and not
in others. Because it's hard to tell when the right of recredit
applies, you should ask, in writing, for a recredit whenever a check
is paid twice, a check is paid for the wrong amount or something
else goes wrong with your account.
Ask for a substitute check: You get a limited
recredit right under Check 21, but the regulations restrict recredit
to consumers who were provided with a substitute check.
Always ask for a substitute check, which is a special
kind of copy of your paper check. If you now get your original checks
back, ask for an account that returns substitute checks every month.
If your bank charges too much for an account that returns substitute
checks every month, look for another bank.
Expect the checks you write to clear faster: Don't
write a check unless the funds are already in your account.
Don't sign up now for voluntary check truncation:
You have even fewer consumer rights under voluntary nonreturn
of your checks than you'll have under Check 21. Decline invitations
from your bank to convert to voluntary check truncation.