DA to hold bad check meeting
By By Anna M. Lee Assistant Managing Editor of the Brewton Standard
The District Attorney's Worthless Check Unit is planning an information session for area merchants to be held at the Escambia County Courthouse in Courtroom One on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
At the session, merchants who drop in between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. will be given updated worthless check forms and information, and they will have an opportunity to meet with Worthless Check Unit staff.
All licensed merchants in the county were invited by letter to attend the meeting, including merchants that already use the service and some new businesses that have not, said Phyllis Crawford, executive assistant for District Attorney Mike Godwin.
"This is the time of year that merchants are frustrated because holiday checks are coming back," Crawford said.
The casual, open-house type meeting will be the first one of its kind organized by the District Attorney's office.
Any merchant in the county can take advantage of the worthless check service, free of charge.
When a merchant receives a check that is returned for insufficient funds, they need to first notify the person at the physical address listed on the check by sending a form letter provided by the Worthless Check Unit. If after 10 days, the check is not settled, the merchant can turn it over to the Worthless Check Unit for collection. The district attorney's office then sends another letter and allows 10 more days to settle the debt. If the person comes in to pay their debt, the district attorney's office collects the money and a $30 fee for the merchant. If the check is not paid in that time, the office issues a warrant for the person's arrest.
"The only thing merchants need to do is be sure that they all the information needed – home phone number, work phone number, physical address and driver's license number," Crawford said.
"That service is great," said Mike Alverson, a supervisor with Diamond Gasoline. "I work in about seven different counties and Escambia County does as well as, if not better than, any other county I work with. Of the checks I turn over to them, I'd say they collect on 98 percent of them."
Alverson supervises six stations in Escambia County.