2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 13 - CONTRACTS
CHAPTER 6 - DAMAGES AND COSTS GENERALLY
§ 13-6-15 - Damages for writing bad checks

O.C.G.A. 13-6-15 (2010)
13-6-15. Damages for writing bad checks


(a) Notwithstanding any criminal sanctions which may apply, any person who makes, utters, draws, or delivers any check, draft, or order upon any bank, depository, person, firm, or corporation for the payment of money, which drawee refuses to honor the instrument for lack of funds or credit in the account from which to pay the instrument or because the maker has no account with the drawee, and who fails to pay the same amount in cash to the payee named in the instrument within ten days after a written demand therefor, as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, has been delivered to the maker by certified mail, or statutory overnight delivery shall be liable to the payee, in addition to the amount owing upon such check, draft, or order, for damages of double the amount so owing, but in no case more than $500.00, and any court costs incurred by the payee in taking the action. In addition to delivery of notice as provided for herein, notice may be given by first-class mail to the address printed on the check given by the maker at the time of issuance or, in the case of a draft or order, to the last known address. If the question of sufficiency of notice becomes an issue, when notice is by first-class mail, the sender of the purported notice shall give an affidavit, under oath, that notice was made as provided for herein and there shall be a rebuttable presumption that proper notice was given.

(b) The payee may charge the maker of the check, draft, or order a service charge not to exceed $30.00 or 5 percent of the face amount of the instrument, whichever is greater, plus the amount of any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored, when making written demand for payment.

(c) Before any recovery under subsection (a) of this Code section may be claimed, a written demand in substantially the form which follows shall be sent by certified mail, statutory overnight delivery, or first-class mail supported by an affidavit of service to the address printed or written on the check given by the maker at the time of issuance of the check or, in the case of a draft or order, to the last known address, the notice to be deemed conclusive ten days following the date the affidavit is executed, to the maker of the instrument at the address shown on the instrument:
"You are hereby notified that a check or instrument numbered , issued by you on (date), drawn upon (name of bank), and payable to , has been dishonored. Pursuant to Georgia law, you have ten days from receipt of this notice to tender payment of the full amount of the check or instrument plus a service charge of $30.00 or 5 percent of the face amount of the check or instrument, whichever is greater, plus the amount of any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored, the total amount due being $ . Unless this amount is paid in full within the ten-day period, the holder of the check or instrument may file a civil suit against you for two times the amount of the check or instrument, but in no case more than $500.00, in addition to the payment of the check or instrument plus any court costs incurred by the payee in taking the action."

(d) For purposes of this Code section, the holder of the dishonored check, draft, or order shall file the action in the county where the defendant resides.

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

(1) Full satisfaction of the amount of the check or instrument plus the applicable service charge and any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored was made prior to the commencement of the action;

(2) The bank or depository erred in dishonoring the check or instrument; or

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

(f) In an action under this Code section, the court or jury may, however, waive all or part of the double damages upon finding that the defendant's failure to satisfy the dishonored check or instrument was due to the defendant receiving a dishonored check or instrument written to the defendant by another party.

(g) Subsequent to the commencement of the civil action under this Code section, but prior to the hearing, the defendant may tender to the plaintiff as satisfaction of the claim an amount of money equal to the sum of the amount of the dishonored check, service charges on the check, any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored, and any court costs incurred by the plaintiff in taking the action.

(h) In an action under this Code section, if the court or jury determines that the failure of the defendant to satisfy the dishonored check was due to economic hardship, the court or jury has the discretion to waive all or part of the double damages. However, if the court or jury waives all or part of the double damages, the court or jury shall render judgment against the defendant in the amount of the dishonored check plus service charges on the check plus any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored and any court costs incurred by the plaintiff in taking the action.

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