Bounced Check! NSF funds

Hi All,
So after 15 years and thousands of home inspections performed…. I’ve only been burned about 3 times for payment. Not a bad ratio a .001 percent. I still feel the pain for all that work for nothing for some deadbeats!!

This is was MY FIRST ever BOUNCED CHECK… it was for a big job, 7000 square foot house… and $1,400! I called back client and ofcourse not contacting me back. The realtor never collected a deposit from this buyer and was tossed out of escrow.

I know my options…

  1. File it for collections or even submit to the local police and DA’s office for passing a bad check (this amount is a Felony)

  2. Forget about it and move on….it’s not that I’m that forgiving, but I always have retaliation from a crazy client in the back of my mind… the What if’s… crank calls for false inspection work or appointments, etc. call me paranoid but I am.

What’s your experience on this??? Or bad checks? I’m thankful it’s been such a rare occurrence


Maybe do 1, and the be prepared for 2.
You can readily get a Mechanic’s Lein:
Mechanic’s lien - Wikipedia

Which gets recorded on their title, creating no end of future hassle, and thus pressure to settle.

Under the statutes, the lien is usually created by the performance of labor or the supplying of material that improves the property. Just what type of contribution counts as a valid basis for a mechanics lien varies, depending on the particular state statute that applies. Some common examples are:

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I would have never accepted a check that large. Anything over $500 is credit card only. Good luck I hope you get this resolved.

Ever had a chargeback on a card? Especially an American Express Card? Cards are hardly safe.


I had one, and only one. It was out of state and my attorney said it would cost more to chase it that to chalk it up to experience. ($750.00, I think.)

If it is in state, contact the prosecuting attorney in that city/area because it is against the law to pass a bad check. He may or may not think it is worth pursuing.


On What?
You inspected a property they don’t own, so you can’t fill a lien on a house they just looked at.


I can tell you firsthand when there is a contract and proof of service the credit card companies have sided with the contract holder 100% of the time.

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Only had one bad check in ten years. Always get a drivers license with a check (with a current address, ASK). just put the two side by side and take a photo with your phone. The bad check I prosecuted. Went to the county that the check was passed in and filled out a police report. After about 4 months, and just prior to the court date, the perp called me and paid with a credit card over the phone. Entire amount plus returned check fee plus my handling fee ($50). Might have been a stolen card for all I know but it cleared. DA didn’t want to continue so I dropped the charges.

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Glad it’s worked for you.

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Sorry, I missed that the buyer ordered the report, rather than the seller.

Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the responses and Great information… Yes, its really hard not to pursue the dead beat!

Word of Advice to everyone… IF YOU ARE INSPECTING a large Multi-million dollar house or property, lots of work, Good amount… Ask the realtor before hand if the BUYER put a DEPOSIT down on the house. Con men, do not like putting deposits down. It’s a good sign you could get burned.

For whatever unknown reasons, I do not know why anyone would pursue all the time in an escrow if they were not serious or had the money to buy a large house… Its mind boggling to me. But the 2 times I was burned was (no deposit) from the buyers!

So just a TIP! Until then… Stay Safe out there!


Curious, I have never heard the term “tossed out of escrow.” What does that mean?

The buyer just failed to fulfill the contract by not paying the deposit, escrow or whatever was required per the contract. Some realtors call this “falling out of contract”. Poof, the deal is dead.

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I am with you @jdepiero

I would call the person daily and tell them via text and VM that I will be filing the NSF with the local authorities. Then I would file. Then I would call some more.

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I would also send a bill by mail every month. Include the original fee, plus the NSF fee, plus the past due interest amount that you have in your agreement.


Here is my verbiage in my agreement, and below that is a link to a handy late payment interest calculator. I have it bookmarked in my browser in case I ever need it.

12. Past-due fees for your inspection shall accrue interest at the rate of 1.5% per month (18% annually), beginning 30 days after the date of the inspection. You agree to pay all costs and attorney’s fees we incur in collecting the fees owed to us. If the Client is a corporation, LLC, or similar entity, you personally guarantee payment of the fee.

13. Cancelled or returned checks will incur an additional $30 fee in addition to the amount due.

One needs to be careful when trying to collect a debt from another party.
“Debt collectors can find themselves in hot water for breaking the law. We discuss the penalties below. It is illegal for a debt collector to take these 14 actions:” Link; Debt Collector Making Threats |
My understanding is it is illegal to attempt to get paid by someone by threatening them with criminal charges.

Sending them an invoice for money due is not a threat of criminal charges.


Telling them you are going to report the NSF to local authorities is not the same as threatening them with criminal charges in my opinion.

The sheriff (in my county) will decide to press criminal charges, not me. The I can sue for damages in civil court if I choose.

I have collected on bad checks before. I stated, I will file this with the sheriffs dept. in 5 days if not resolved. It is a criminal offense to knowingly pass a bad check.