What can I do to collect on a bum check?

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I have a $2,000 check written by a friend that won't clear the bank. What are my legal rights?


Friends and money are often uneasy bedfellows. In your situation, you are likely to end up with either your money or your friend, but not both.

From a legal standpoint, you have the right to sue and obtain a judgment and force collections -- attaching your friend's wages, seizing his or her bank accounts, or putting a lien on his or her house. To learn about bringing a lawsuit in small claims court, see Nolo's Small Claims Court area.

Also, in some states, a judge could award you up to three times the amount of the check to punish your friend for writing a bad check. Check your state laws. (For information on researching state law, see Nolo's Legal Research area.

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