What to do if I’m being sued in the amount of $1200 for 2 bounced checks totalling $400?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2013

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What to do if I’m being sued in the amount of $1200 for 2 bounced checks totalling $400?

The checks were in the amount of $200 a piece. I had post-dated the checks and forgotten about them after a few months, then closed my bank account because of problems I had with the bank. The plaintiff never tried to contact me to try to resolve the issue before filing a small claims suit. I don’t think I should owe $1200 for this. Would I need a lawyer to avoid paying this or is a losing battle?

Asked on January 14, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like your bank is trying to add fees, including collection costs for the bounced checks.  If the agreement that you had with the bank authorized the imposition of these fees, then they could potentially charge you for them.  The amount of the fees does seem a little bit high for the amount of the checks that you have noted.  You could try to hire an attorney to get the amount lowered, but you will have to pay an attorney to do this for you.  Before you make a final decision-- see if it's even cost effective to do so.  (i.e. is the cost of the attorney going to offset your potential savings).  Many creditors "high ball" their fees.  You can also try to just negotiate a lower fee-- namely offering to come up with $800 lump sum in exchange for a release. 

If you do not hire an attorney and the bank will not work with you, make sure that you file a general answer to the small claims suit.  If you do not file an answer, then a default judgment could be entered against you and you would be stuck with the full amount of fees.  At a final hearing, it would be their burden to prove that they are entitled to the extra fees.  If you object, then judge may also cut them for you if they do not meet their burden.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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