Is the consumer responsible for a ‘lost check’ for due funds?

While working with an apartment finding service company from out of state,
my roommate and I signed an application agreement for a 2 bedroom
apartment at 1550, which we paid that day, plus the standard application
fees. The landlord wished to increase the monthly rent by 200, and we
found out that the unit was a 1 bedroom unit, and declined the rent increase.
This company agreed to refund our initial payment of 1550 and told us to
‘come pick it up’ this is unfeasible, as we are still living almost 400 miles
away.
We offered to pay for certified mail or express shipping, but were declined.
Company said that a mail courier will pick up our check standard mail, no
tracking info or confirmation number and said we must ‘also acknowledge
you understand that any lost check/ stop payment fee for a lost check would
be deducted from the refund amount.’
Are we truly liable for a lost check?

Asked on July 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are liable because they told you that if they need to stop pay, etc. a lost check, you will be responsible for that fee. If after being told that, you ask them to return you the check, by doing so, you will be demonstrating agreement to that provision or term. You will be contractually obligating yourselves to the fee.
Since you canceled the rental--not them--it is not their resonsibility to accommodate you how you get the check back: it is your responsibility to accommodate them. If they only return by regular mail in cases like this, that--or driving there to get the money in person--are your only options.


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