|Check Shipments Policy and FAQ
|January 19, 2024
This article addresses questions often brought up by debt relief service providers (DRSPs) regarding the status of missing or late settlement payments that are paid via check. It also explains the different scenarios that take place and describes some of the steps needed to resolve the issue.
Question: What is the check shipment policy?
Answer: Forth implemented a new check shipments policy effective November 1, 2019. Unpaid checks (Checks with shipped status) with a scheduled date greater than 90 days are subjected to stop payments placed upon them. For example, a check that was issued 6 months ago shows the shipped status in the Forth CRM. Because this check is beyond the 90-day threshold, it would have a stop payment placed on it and the funds returned to the consumer. Your team would be contacted by Forth about the settlement, and are asked if we should duplicate the payment and have it resent if the settlement was still valid.
Question: What is the stop payment process? Does it change with the new check shipment policy?
Answer: The stop payment process does not change with the new policy. To place a stop payment, submit a ticket via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the title of the email, please include the consumer name and client ID and stop the payment request. It should look like this: Joe Brown -ABC-534289576 Stop Payment Request. In the body of the email, let us know the following details:
- Payment date
- Payment amount
- If applicable - let us know if you wish to duplicate the original details of the replacement check or provide updated shipping information or reference# for the new payment if it is a check or if you will be scheduling the new payment another method
- Shipment method if replacement check: 2nd day or overnight or regular mail
Question: What do I do if the creditor says the payment is lost or never received?
Answer: First thing is to check the tracking # if sent 2nd day or overnight. Regular check shipments don't have tracking and therefore should be stopped. Next, inquire if the settlement is still valid. If so, consider resending a new check and placing a stop payment on the existing lost check. Shipments considered “lost” should have a new check should be reissued (or an alternate payment method arranged) and a stop payment placed on the original check to prevent a duplicate payment.
Question: Why is there a difference between what Creditor says and what Forth shows in the system
Answer: There are many reasons for this based on the situation.
Scenario 1: Forth status shows the check is in Shipped status, the Creditor says payment received, but not processed yet
This happens when the carrier forgets to scan a tracker or the creditor has NOT yet deposited funds.
There have been instances the carrier forgets to do the final scan at delivery leaving the status of tracking in transit. Likewise, creditors all have different payment processing times. Forth recommends contacting the carrier to confirm delivery first and then reaching out to the creditor to inquire about payment status. In either case, sometimes a quick call or inquiry can help "push" the settlement to be recognized it's there and processed.
Scenario 2: Forth shows checks are in Shipped status, Creditor says the payment was paid.
This very common scenario happens because of a timing issue and usually clears itself after a few days.
In some cases, the creditor receives the check and enters it in their payment system, but then it sits in a queue until they are ready to make their next bank deposit. Forth only updates the check as paid (Cleared status) when it is deposited. There have been cases when a creditor insists payment has been made and has processed the SIF document. Under this circumstance, Forth recommends updating the settlement to Cleared to reflect the payment. Funds will be tracked and set aside so they can be paid in the event the creditor reclaims payment.
Scenario 3: Forth shows Cleared, Creditor says the payment is still owed
This is an extremely rare occurrence caused by clerical issues on the creditor side in misapplying funds or a case of fraud whereby someone else has cashed the check. In this circumstance, create a support ticket for Forth Pay to have the creditor confirm and for First Midwest Bank to investigate.
Question: Who should pay for the stop payment fee?
Answer: It depends
Scenario 1: Settlement information is entered incorrectly by the debt relief service company
The negotiator team or whoever is responsible for setting up the settlement in Forth enters an incorrect address, or wrong reference# information, and the settlement gets returned or lost, the DRSP should pay for the clerical error and also pay for subsequent shipping fees to correct the payment. Note: For a check that is returned to Forth's office by the creditor, there is no stop payment fee if the check is returned before Forth sends a new payment.
Scenario 2: Settlement information is entered or changed by Forth incorrectly.
Forth will pay for its error and make necessary adjustments to satisfy the issue.
Scenario 3: The payment address is correct and there is proof of delivery, but the creditor states that they did not receive the payment.
In this case, Forth recommends that the DRSP make the call and determine if the consumer pays or if the DRSP will pay the fee. In either case, it is important to let Forth know so that we can set up the fee correctly.
Question: How are checks that are returned by a carrier as undelivered or returned to the sender to Forth handled?
Answer: Forth will contact you to let you know a check has been returned to our office. The email sent to you will contain the following verbiage: Please answer the question about duplicating transactions for resending a check or if you will be arranging an alternate payment method. If resending the check, please reconfirm address and reference# are correct and then reply to Forth for processing.
The attached check has been returned to our office for the above-mentioned client. The transaction will be REVERSED but want you to review and advise on the following:
- DUPLICATE TRANSACTION
- DO NOT DUPLICATE TRANSACTION
If a DUPLICATE TRANSACTION is desired provide the correct settlement information so that the duplicate check DOES NOT get returned as well as future scheduled payments.
Should we not receive any instruction from your office within 24 hours we will update the transaction to REVERSED and NOT DUPLICATE TRANSACTION.
What are the fees associated with a stop payment?
Answer: All check-related and disbursement fees are listed in the Forth Pay custodial agreement that the consumer signs.
Stop Payment fee* $35.00
*Please advise who will be paying the stop payment fee: consumer or DRSP
Question: Why doesn't the tracking # show it was delivered? How can I prove the check payment was delivered?
Answer: Checks sent via 2-day or overnight service, can be tracked up to 90 days from the processed date. Carriers typically recycle tracking#s after 90 days and therefore cannot be tracked or be used for proof of delivery due to this limitation. If you just sent the check out, it can take at least 24 hours before the tracking # is updated by the carrier. Please check back the next business day to view the delivery status.
Question: What report is available to help me manage check shipments?
Answer: Settlements - UNCOLLECTED SHIPPED CHECKS is now available under the accounting tab to help manage your check shipments.
- Find your Past due, uncollected check payments in transit, etc.
- Sortable data columns like process date, creditor, or payment amount, etc.
Article Version History:
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|Added header and version control footer; Replaced company references with Forth for rebranding.
|Grammatical Review only; no other changes made.