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Money Order Valid - then NOT!

I was sent two money orders in the mail for an item I had for sale. When I went to cash them at my bank, I specifically asked the teller to verify them before I cashed them. She in turn called the USPS money order verification toll-free number and stated that they were indeed valid. I cashed them and wired the rest via Western Union. Days later, the bank sent me copies stating that they were counterfeit. Isn't the bank responsible for confirming that they were indeed valid? The bank states when confirming, they never write down the six digit verification code. I feel the bank should also be responsible for the cashing of counterfeit money orders.

While the bank can obtain certain information from the Postal Service, the validity of the money orders can't be guaranteed unless the Postal Service actually has a chance to examine them. Your bank's attempt to verify the money orders was a service, but it provided no guarantee.

Please remember that you got paid for those money orders when the bank gave you credit for them. When they proved to be without value, the bank simply took back the money it advanced to you.

The villain in your story isn't the bank. It's the crook who bought your item. When it comes to taking money orders and checks in payment, the old advice gets turned around: Seller Beware!

Published on 10/06/09