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Topic: Taking checks at craft fairs  (Read 16640 times)
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2004 02:05:31 PM »

I think it would be fine to take just cash, since all the items are less than $35.
I disagree...I don't sell anything over $35 either, but when you get customers who want to make multiple purchases (for example, I've had a few families at craft fairs come over and buy things for every female family member, etc), sometimes they just don't have enough cash on them.  As I said, I would've lost a lot of sales if I didn't take checks.  People don't always have the patience to get cash and come back (in fact, a lot of people would probably convince themselves out of buying on the way to the cash machine).  Same with sending something when a check clears--people at craft fairs usually want instant gratification.  If they can't get it from you, they'll probably just get something at another booth.  Sad  (Especially if there are vendors around who are set up to take credit cards!)
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2004 03:58:12 PM »

if there was actually a way to ensure you'd get the bounced amount PLUS a fee (since your bank will charge you), i'd be more prone to accepting checks (not for fairs, for online sales, but it's the same principle).  i just don't know of any way of enforcing that fee, and i've been burned so i'm not accepting them for now.

« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2004 06:37:21 PM »

Well, the whole issue is moot, since I got rained out for that fair. 

I'm a pretty small scale operation.  There's no way I can compete with the people that are set up for credit cards.  I suppose if craft shows are your primary business and you are making several thousand dollars a season, you can afford to take a bum check every now and then.  I can't afford that.  I'm not looking to make a million via crafting.  I just want to make enough cash to get my butt to Europe next summer. 

Thanks for the info, folks. 

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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2005 10:06:31 AM »

How do i approach taking checks ? what information is needed from the buyer that I would need to know while taking a personal check ?
I appreciate any help! kat

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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2005 10:09:23 AM »

You should get their address and a valid phone number.  A driver's liscence or photo id is also a good thing to have.  It's scarry how much fraud is out there.  One hopes that doesn't happen at craft shows - and from other boards I am on it doesn't seem to!

I also only tell people I accept cheques if they ask - as personally I'd rather not take them in general.  And if you have an odd feeling - just say no - it's up to you whether you take one or not!

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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2005 08:58:48 PM »

Thanks Ill remember that Smiley kat

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« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2005 09:21:12 PM »

Don't take checks without ID. Important!

I work at a Canadian Credit Union, so I'll give you a run down of what I've learned since I've become a teller. US cheques can take up to 3 weeks to clear in Canada.  So watch out for that. I'm sure vice versa as well. And out of province or state cheques- I wouldn't really take those either, but again, it's up to you.

Make sure they fill it out correctly.
Make sure the body and figures match.
And that they Actually sign the cheque.
That they make it payable to the right person.
Make sure they get the date right, 
Remember you can't cash cheques more than 6 monthes old. (Staledated) If they make a mistake, just get an initial.

Other Things to Know

If you don't have a business account, don't let them write it out to your business. Say you call your crafts, Pumpkin Batteries, and the cheque is payable to Pumpkin Batteries,  it has to be deposited to Pumpkin Batteries. But if your name is Lavina Phillip, you can't cash it or deposit it into your account, because it's not payable to you. But if you have an account that has Pumpkin Batteries on it, with your name on it as well, than you can deposit it. And you can't get cash for it- business payable cheques have to go to business accounts.

If you take it to the bank it's drawn on, and you have 2 pieces of photo ID they should cash it for you. This is good so you're not chasing bounced checks all over the place, and so you can come back later when they have the money. Or instead of cashing it, you can Certify it, which usually costs about $5, but then the money is guarenteed when you deposit/cash it at your own bank.
 This is what Instaloans does, btw.

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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2005 02:40:10 PM »

I require TWO telephone numbers.
I prefer a day and an evening number.
If they only have one phone number, I require they give me the phone number of thier husband at work or neighbor or one of thier children.
I absolutely need two telephone numbers. 
I realize both numbers can be disconnected or bogus, but at least I have a fighting chance of getting ahold of them if I need to.

I require state issued id.  Yes, I make sure the id is recorded on the check. 

Here is something I learned the hard way.  A customer wrote me an account closed check.  My bank sends me some horrible blackened copy of the check and charged me $25 for the service charge.  I took the copy to the bank and ask to read it to me.  They could not so they ordered up a **better copy**.  A couple days later they called me and told me the better copy had arrived.  I go to the bank, get the better copy and still can't read the document...neither can anyone else that works at my bank.  They told me it was as good as it was going to get - they couldn't get a better copy of the document.

I handed them the document and said that if I can't read it and no one that works here at the bank can read it - they need to refund my $25 service charge.  If and were charging me for a service and a document, they needed to provide something we could read.  They agreed and refunded the $25 service fee.

It seems that some of those designer checks do not go through the bank copying process very well.  They are all blackened and you can't even read them when they come back.  My bank told me this is a problem that all banks have with some of the image heavy designer checks.

Now I scan ALL of my checks and save them in my computer until I am absolutely certain they have cleared my bank.  I will never never ever ever go through trying to read that blackened smeared document.  I will always have my own perfect image right here in case something happens and I need to contact a bad check customer.

Food for thought,
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2005 12:50:36 AM »

I require TWO telephone numbers.

It is against the law to require a telephone number when accepting a check in New York State.

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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2005 07:57:11 PM »

We were "stiffed" once for $80 dollars. The same woman who scammed us got a few other crafters at the same show, on the same day. Turned out the address on her cheque (yes and her drivers license) was her last address. The people in the townhouse had no idea of where she had moved. I called the fraud department of our police department, they wanted to show me pictures but I had so many customers that day, I couldn't possibly pick out anyone's photo.

I searched for her name on the internet and even phoned a few people with the same last name (hoping to come up with a relative). It would seem that these same people had heard from others like me, who had also been scammed by her.

Do I take cheques today?  Yes .... reluctantly - but I continue to ask to see a drivers license and a credit card. I now write down the license number (apparently this is the only way to track someone down eventually).

The way I see it is that most people are not going to head for a craft fair or festival if they want to commit fraud - they will try to get high ticket items instead. I have been selling for over 10 years now so I suppose one bogus cheque isn't all that bad but still, none would still be better!

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