April 2004
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Should I cash this check? | Legal Ease

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Should I cash this check?

by Philip J. Siegel
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As a roofing contractor, you sometimes may find yourself in disputes with building owners or general contractors about how much money is due according to a particular contract.

For example, you may argue your work is substantially complete and, therefore, you are due the remaining contract balance while an owner or general contractor may seek to impose miscellaneous backcharges against the remaining contract balance. In an effort to settle such a dispute, a building owner or general contractor may send you correspondence enclosing a check for an amount less than the balance you claim is due. The cover letter could indicate the check is being offered in settlement of the dispute, and the check may be marked "payment in full" on the memo line.

What should you do in such a situation? Can you cross out the words "payment in full" or make a notation on the check that the amount is disputed, cash the check and later file a lawsuit to recover the balance you claim is due?



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