Dear Carolyn: A friend agreed to keep my pet for a couple of weeks while I was away this past summer. I gave her a check when I left and another when I returned. There was no agreement on a charge for her services; I offered the money simply because I appreciated her help.
When I handed her the second check, I told her I had postdated it by three days to ensure that sufficient funds were in my account to cover it.
I was very surprised to learn shortly thereafter that she cashed the check ahead of the date, and the bank charged me $175 for the resulting overdrafts.
I told this woman what had happened. Her response: She hadn’t heard me ask her to hold the check, and she hadn’t noticed the date on the check. She said she was really sorry about the overdraft fees I had paid.
I have reason to believe she was not truthful with me – that she did hear me but cashed the check anyway because she needed the money. I can’t be sure, though.
Even if she was truthful, her mistake cost me $175, and she apparently feels no responsibility for sharing that expense.
I no longer feel I can trust her. I could be missing something. I could be wrong. What do you think? – Anonymous
I think you got a $175 education in the hazards of postdating checks.
Regardless of your friend’s trustworthiness, you set yourself up; you handed off control of your account balance to someone else, when you just as easily could have told your friend you’d be mailing her a thank-you check.
As it stands, unless she heard your warning and consciously chose to ignore it, she has zero responsibility for sharing the overdraft expense.
sponsored You’ve probably heard of co-ops: food co-ops, childcare co-ops, housing co-ops, energy co-ops.