Law Office of Paul Arons
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Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Are all letters like this sent by private debt collectors?

No.  Some district attorneys and law enforcement agencies operate their own programs internally.  THE LAWS GOVERNING A PROGRAM THAT IS ACTUALLY OPERATED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE LAWS COVERING PRIVATE COMPANIES.  The information in this web site only applies to programs operated by private companies.

2.  How do I know if the letter I received is from a private company like Bounceback or National Corrective Group, Inc.?

If the letter looks like the ones on this web site, it was probably from Bounceback or NCG.  If the letters lists a toll-free phone number, and has a P.O. Box, rather than the address of your local district attorney, it is probably from a private company, like Bounceback or NCG.  If the letter is from the “Check Enforcement Program”, or the “District Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program,” it is probably from Bounceback or NCG.  THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT IS TO CALL UP AND ASK THE PERSON YOU SPEAK WITH WHO THEY ARE EMPLOYED BY AND WHERE THEY ARE LOCATED.  ASK IF THEY ARE EMPLOYED BY A PRIVATE COMPANY.  Someone who is really working in the district attorney’s office should have no problem with telling you the truth.  Someone who is working for a private company will try to avoid directly answering the question, saying something like: “The district attorney authorized me to call you.”

3.  Are National Corrective Group and Bounceback the only companies that send these letters?

No.  But National Corrective Group and Bounceback are the two biggest companies running these programs. 

4.  Why did I get a letter?

A merchant, or a debt collection company like Certegy or Telecheck, has claimed that a check you wrote did not clear, and that you have not paid the check.  Supposedly, the merchant or a debt collector contacted you to demand payment, before sending the check to the diversion company, but there is no requirement that they provide a copy of the notice they claim to have sent you, or provide proof that you received it.

5.  Did I commit a crime by writing a bad check?

The laws vary from state to state.  In most states, you did not commit a crime unless you knew the check would not clear, and were intending to defraud the merchant.  However, the laws in each state are different.

6.  Did a prosecutor review the facts of my case before deciding to send me a letter?

In most instances, checks or check information are transmitted directly from the merchant or collection agency to the check diversion company. If the check met certain very broad criteria, the private company then sends a series of form demand letters at programmed intervals.  In most cases, once the check diversion company gets the check, the prosecutor does not look at your case or make any decisions.  THERE ARE A FEW EXCEPTIONS, AND WITHOUT MORE INFORMATION, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER A PROSECUTOR REVIEWED YOUR CHECK.

7.  Is it legal to charge all the fees I am being asked to pay?

The permissible fees vary from state to state, but in the four states where lawsuits have been filed, California, Florida, Indiana and Pennsylvania, the plaintiffs alleged that none of the fees were permitted by law.  

8.  What will happen if I don’t pay the check and all the fees and attend the financial accountability class?

We cannot predict the future. Although very few check writers who receive these letters are ever prosecuted, it is impossible to determine the risk of prosecution in advance. If you wrote a check that did not clear, you owe the amount of the check (unless you have a dispute with the merchant to whom you wrote the check).  If you receive a letter from a check diversion company, you may reduce your risk of prosecution if you pay at least the check amount.  If you have a number of bad checks that you never paid, or if your check(s) was for a large amount, it is more likely that the private company will send your records to the district attorney.  In some counties, bad check prosecutions are very rare.  In some counties, people who write checks and never pay them may be prosecuted routinely. If you really cannot afford the check amount, you should contact the real prosecutor and explain your financial circumstances. 

9. I don’t think prosecutors should allow debt collectors to threaten check writers, and demand exorbitant fees.  What can I do?

There are several things that you can do to. 

  • ·        Make notes of all your conversations with the private company

  • ·        Send us copies of the letter that you received and contact us to discuss your situation

  • ·        If you feel that bad check diversion programs are unfair or abusive, call or write your local district attorney, and your state and federal representatives to complain.



The material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.  Transmission of the information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. This page and other pages herein may refer to certain legal concepts or principles. These concepts or principles are primarily based upon what we believe to be the applicable law.  The law is in a constant state of change. Therefore for these and other reasons the information and opinions expressed in this website are not intended and should not be taken as legal opinions to be relied upon in any way by those who read this website. To come to a legal conclusion relative to anything contained herein could seriously prejudice the rights of the reader. If the reader has a legal problem relative to any of the matters discussed in this website he or she may consult this office or another attorney for legal advice.

The material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.  Transmission of the information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.  See full disclaimer