North Carolina Dishonored Check Law


Debts and Credit – Bad Checks – North Carolina

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of the law of bad checks, but does contain basic and other provisions.

Civil Provisions

Chapter 6. Liability for Court Costs.
ARTICLE 3. Civil Actions and Proceedings.
6-21.3. Remedies for returned check.

(a) Notwithstanding any criminal sanctions that may apply, a person, firm, or corporation who knowingly draws, makes, utters, or issues and delivers to another any check or draft drawn on any bank or depository that refuses to honor the same because the maker or drawer does not have sufficient funds on deposit in or credit with the bank or depository with which to pay the check or draft upon presentation, and who fails to pay the same amount, any service charges imposed on the payee by a bank or depository for processing the dishonored check, and any processing fees imposed by the payee pursuant to G.S. 25-3-506 in cash to the payee within 30 days following written demand therefor, shall be liable to the payee

(i) for the amount owing on the check, the service charges, and processing fees and

(ii) for additional damages of three times the amount owing on the check, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) or to be less than one hundred dollars ($100.00).

If the amount claimed in the first demand letter is not paid, the claim for the amount of the check, the service charges and processing fees, and the treble damages provided for in this subsection may be made by a subsequent letter of demand prior to filing an action. In an action under this section the court or jury may, however, waive all or part of the additional damages upon a finding that the defendant’s failure to satisfy the dishonored check or draft was due to economic hardship. The initial written demand for the amount of the check, the service charges, and processing fees shall be mailed by certified mail to the defendant at the defendant’s last known address and shall be in the form set out in subsection (a1) of this section. The subsequent demand letter demanding the amount of the check, the service charges, the processing fees, and treble damages shall be mailed by certified mail to the defendant at the defendant’s last known address and shall be in the form set out in subsection (a2) of this section. If the payee chooses to send the demand letter set out in subsection (a2) of this section, then the payee may not file an action to collect the amount of the check, the service charges, the processing fees, or treble damages until 30 days following the written demand set out in subsection (a2) of this section. (a1) The first notification letter shall be substantially in the following form:

… [ see, USLF form NC-401N ] …

(a2) If the total amount due in subsection (a1) has not been paid within 30 days after the mailing of the notification letter, a subsequent demand letter may be sent and shall be substantially in the following form:

… [ see, USLF form NC-402N ] …

(b) In an action under subsection (a) of this section, the presiding judge or magistrate may award the prevailing party, as part of the court costs payable, a reasonable attorney’s fee to the duly licensed attorney representing the prevailing party in such suit.

(c) It shall be an affirmative defense, in addition to other defenses, to an action under this section if it is found that:

(i) full satisfaction of the amount of the check or draft was made prior to the commencement of the action, or

(ii) that the bank or depository erred in dishonoring the check or draft, or

(iii) that the acceptor of the check knew at the time of acceptance that there were insufficient funds on deposit in the bank or depository with which to cause the check to be honored.

(d) The remedy provided for herein shall apply only if the check was drawn, made, uttered or issued with knowledge there were insufficient funds in the account or that no credit existed with the bank or depository with which to pay the check or draft upon presentation.