What are my legal options when a client does not want to pay an invoice to me because the check they issued was stolen in the mail?

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What are my legal options when a client does not want to pay an invoice to me because the check they issued was stolen in the mail?

Client mailed a paper check to me for payment for my independent consulting services. The check was intercepted in the mail, my signature was forged and the check cleared for payment. Client does not want to pay me. Client is claiming the money was stolen from me and it is up to me to make the necessary claims to recoup the money. Police and bank have informed me that the money was stolen from client’s account and it is client’s responsibility to file the claim and recover the stolen money. Client does not want to pay the outstanding invoice until the money is reclaimed. What are my legal options?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your options are to write the customer a letter stating that you understand an unfortunate situation has occurred, but you never received the check because it was stolen while in the mail. You would consider working with the client for installment payments (if you are willing to), but you need to get paid.

If the client does not want to make payments, then your recourse would be to bring a legal action for payment. Potentially the bank that negotiated the check with your forged signature on it may make good on the payment.

The reality is that you never received the check. The client was defrauded by an unknown third person. However, you earned what the check was issued for and deserve to be paid. If you want to keep this client, try working with him or her for payment.

Perhaps future checks to you should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested by this customer.

Good luck.


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