When you find a check that expired years ago, can you get it cashed?
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — Ever find an uncashed check stuffed in a birthday card sent to you years ago from a relative? A Utah woman recently found a refund check worth hundreds of dollars from her old phone company. Problem is, it expired 16 years ago.
Checks are very old-school, and if it has been a year or two or ten since you have written one, you might recall they go stale. Banks will not touch them after that. Is there any chance of cashing one 16 years after it expired?
You might say Shannon Amundsen is in the business of memories as she puts together scrapbook do-dads out of her home. Among all the boxes of materials, she discovered one piece of paper that she had long since forgotten.
“I first thought I was going to pass out because I’m like, what in the world?” she said. “What is this for?”
It was a check from Qwest Communications dated way back to 2006 — a check she never cashed when Amundsen canceled her old landline. She called Qwest’s successor, CenturyLink, about getting a new check.
“We will get back to you in just a few days,” was the response Amundsen received.
Days turned into weeks, and then more than a month, and she said she was not getting anywhere on her own.
“Unbelievable amounts of time on the phone,” she said.
She decided it was time to call the KSL Investigators.
Asking a company to honor an expired check can be a tall order. Right on the check itself, there’s a warning printed: “Void after 30 days.” At 5,972 days since the check was cut, we are just a tad over.
Our investigation found that by law, a phone company must keep call records for 18 months. There is no rule on how long they must keep business records. Verifying that Amundsen never cashed the check may be impossible.
It never hurts to ask, so we reached out to CenturyLink through the corporate communications department at Lumen Technologies, its owner. And just like that — some good news for Amundsen.
“Despite the fact that our policy, and the check itself, says a check is void after 30 days we wanted to make our former customer’s day a little better with a fresh check,” the spokesperson wrote to us in an email.
Amundsen now has a new check on its way, and this time, it will get cashed within that 30-day window.
Now, typically when a company somehow cannot get money it owes into the right hands, they send it to Utah’s Unclaimed Property Division for safekeeping. Amundsen looked there first, but it never made it because CenturyLink did not get the check back in the mail: it was boxed up. It is always a good idea to check unclaimed property for yourself: you may have a 16-year-old check waiting for you.
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