You’ll usually find a coin or two when you clean out your sofa, but I was recently surprised to find an uncashed cheque. Unfortunately it was too old to cash in, so I had to let it go unclaimed – all seven pence of it.
That’s right: someone once sent me a cheque for seven pence. Not a stingy relative, I hasten to add, but a bank. This bank had closed my account and offered to refund me the money that was left in it. I offered to send them bank details, but for some reason they posted a cheque instead.
This is annoying, of course – who has the time or inclination to cash a cheque for seven pence? Some people who regularly visit their bank perhaps, but I simply let the cheque languish in a pile of papers and eventually recycled it.
Cheque refunds from energy suppliers
I’ve had similar refunds from energy companies. If I’ve switched my gas and electricity with a surplus on my account, I’ve received cheques for the balance. One company actually sent two cheques – one for the gas and one for the electricity.
When I discussed this issue with a colleague, he told me he’d once been given a very low-value cheque from an energy company, but the cheque itself was so huge it wouldn’t fit into the ‘auto-payment’ machines in the bank. Ten minutes of queuing later, he finally got his few pennies.
Refund it into my bank account
Now, I appreciate that money’s money and all payment systems are technically equal. A pound in cash will, after all, buy no more or less than a pound in my bank account. However, I can’t be alone in thinking that if I’ve paid someone in a certain way, I’d like the option to have my refund in the same way too.
I pay for almost everything either by card or by direct debit. Having brushed the dust off my chequebook I see the last one I wrote was about eighteen months ago. So why should companies send me refunds by cheque?
I so rarely visit a bank branch that it hardly seems worth making a special trip for a cheque for such a small amount. But I’m sure it’s far worse for people who struggle to get to their bank at all, such as people who live far away or have trouble travelling.
Have you been refunded by cheque when you would have preferred the money to put straight into your account? And would you ever cash a cheque for seven pence?