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For those of you who take checks (at eBay or elsewhere) how do you handle them?

I quit taking them a while back basically because it means one more thing I have to keep track of. But I'm thinking about taking them again.

I've never been really clear on how to know if a check bounces (knowing before I ship the order, I mean). The notice from the bank is slow (usually via USPS, right?). But then again I don't want to be checking my account online every day to see when a check clears. If I could get e-mail notices for when checks clear that'd be good but I don't know that that's an option.

So what do you folks do? How many days do you hold orders to make sure the check clears? And how can you be sure it cleared?

Any input is most appreciated.
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We take checks, e-checks and checks in the mail. If the check is less than $25, we don't hold it for clearance.

With echecks, you get a notice when the check clears. So that is easy enough.

With mailed checks, we haven't had one that is over our $25 policy.

I find that even with us accepting checks, we rarely get them. Maybe 10% of our sales. And of those, maybe only 10% are actually mailed. It happens often enough that we don't want to stop accepting them, but not so often that it is a hassle.
No, I don't.

They already have 7 days to pay for an item and then to have to wait an additional 10 or more days for a check to 'hopefully' clear is way too long for me. I had a buyer request to pay with a check one time. She was a long time eBayer with steller feedback. I accepted her check and all was well. Otherwise, I prefer not to accept them. USPS money orders work better for me if a buyer doesn't want to use PP or pay with a CC.

Yes to checks
Yes to echecks

When it's a tangible item, I hold the item till the check clears. 10 BUSINESS days no less.

It's not that I've been taken much in the last seven plus years of selling.

Less than 3 times to be exact. But the last one was for 90+ dollars. Christmas season and it was a bear to collect on. I had to contact a friend of mine who works for the police department to make a little phone call on my behalf.

But yes, I take them and will continue.

My Best,
Hi Rick,

Yeah I take them also, I get 20 or so a month. I have a system though. Its simple:

Check come in and I deposit checks on Monday and Thursday.

I do the online back verification on Monday and Thursday the following week for those deposits.

I haven't had a bounced one yet. (knock on wood)

I ship check orders on Tuesdays and Fridays following the week I check online. All other payment orders I ship daily.

I think checks with banks are 5 business days to turn. So 5 check a week itn't that bad to track.

That's my system, Rick.

I never advertised that I took checks but if they asked I USED to say ok.

Here's what happened to me -
rec'd check deposited waited 10 days and mailed off the item. 45 days later I got hit with the return of the check - sort of. The check did not bounce for NSF. They claimed FRAUD once they received the statement from their bank that showed the check clearing. WHich could end up being up to 90 days when you consider when the check is bank, their statement date and then 30 days for a person to disbute a charge on their bank statement.
Anyways, I shipped to the name and address printed on the check. I had eDC showing it was delivered to that address.
HOWEVER, the person who's name and address was on the check moved 18 months before that.
Being that at one time in my life I did collection work, I traced the address and was able to find out infact it was true. That person no longer lived at that address. I filed a post office investigation, which again showed that person didn't live ther and of course the folks living there claimed they never received a package.

YES, the name on the check had filed a change of address with the PO but those expire in 12 months so it was no longer in the system.

Best I could piece together is that the residents of the home happened to find an old check and had boxes of them printed and had being using them. The person who's name was on the check seemed like a nice enough guy, willing to work with me in getting the information I was seeking. Even emailed me a copy of his police report he made because apparently a ton of these checks started hitting his bank. I quickly realized that he had much bigger problems with this then I did.

NOW, I won't take a check unless it is a return customer and I don't advertise that either.
They already have 7 days to pay for an item and then to have to wait an additional 10 or more days for a check to 'hopefully' clear is way too long for me.

This is part of my problem -- I don't like the idea of having to keep track of one more thing.

eChecks, on the other hand, are a breeze! PayPal sends an e-mail when it clears -- simple! I guess if I could get my bank to do that then I'd be set...

Thanks for the input, everybody!
Officially, no. If it's a repeat buyer or someone I "know" from a board or someone with lots of good feedback who asks nicely before paying, I've made exceptions.

If it's a buyer who just assumes they can send one, even though I don't list it as a payment method, I've refused them. Occassionally I'll deposit a small one, but they have to wait for me to go to the bank at my convenience and then wait a reasonable clearing period.

I don't really care to track their clearing, but the biggest reason I don't take checks is I don't go to the bank very often. It's not worth the inconvience for me to make a special trip to get a check in and start the process.
It's not worth the inconvience for me to make a special trip to get a check in and start the process.

Yeah. Because not only to you have to wait long enough for it to clear but you have to get down to the bank (ideally, pretty quickly) and deposit it.

I'd like to offer the extra option to my customers but I think I'm back to where I was before -- it's too much hassle just to accept the occasional check.
I take 'em and I've gotten probably an equal number of personal checks vs money orders - about all I wait for is to make sure that my online banking shows the check fully deposited without a problem before shipping, usually about 3 days or so.
But then, I think the largest check I've had to take is about $17, so my risk of getting taken isn't as high as some others either...
Being in Canada, I take checks from Canadians, but no longer from my US customers.

The banks here implemented up to a 60 day clearance hold for US checks, so I had to stop taking them.

I have never had a problem with any bouncing yet.
Here we have an email money transfer system between the major banks, so even checks nowadays are few and far between.
I'll take anything.

Burnt twice on a check in seven plus years.

One was a buck and I figured he needed it worse than I.

The other was for a fifty plus dollar purchase before Christmas. I notified the buyer and he didn't answer. So I called a friend of mine up at the police station. He called them and I had an overnight payment in full plus five dollars by the next day.

I still take checks. Twice in seven plus years isn't such a bad least I don't think so.

I'm with William I'll take any kinda payment..well, cept goats or first born. <smile>

Take care, Donna

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