House painter denies getting payment. How to proceed?

So it has not been cashed yet. Apparently the bill pay takes the funds out of your account even if the check hasn’t been cashed. Will wait a few more days.


I was going to suggest this was the case. I’ve been with banks (Chase) who immediately withdraw funds from your account when you send a billpay. Others (Alliant) leave the funds in your account until the transaction finalizes, usually a couple days later. Hopefully all for naught, but good for you for staying on your toes about the transaction.

Just curious, did the painter complain that the check was not received on time or did you ask him to verify he cashed the check after funds were withdrawn from Cap1? Holiday weekends do have extra delays for both ACH and snail mail.


He was done on the 20th and I told him I would issue a check the next day. Yesterday he calls asking if I sent the check already. Also it would be nice if bill pay had a feature where the recipient is notified when the sender issues a check.

Um, the recipient would receive the notice the same time as they receive the check… :slight_smile:


If I wasn’t clear, the recipient would get an email notice direct from the bank at the time I issue the check. They wouldn’t receive the check for a few more days. Or over a week now in this case. Would save you some embarrassment of sounding like you’re giving them the old story of, the check is in the mail, when it really is.

That would require the sender to have an email address for the recipient, and for the recipient to be willing to have their email address shared with the sender’s financial institution. IMO, more unlikely for the latter to happen.


I would enter the recipients email at the time I create the payment. I imagine most everybody would love to get a message from an official email that they have money coming verses just being told, “the check is in the mail” by the sender.

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Maybe use zelle or venmo next time.

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Isn’t that like cash? Untraceable? At least with a check there is some security.

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There’s as much of an audit trail as with any payment method. The only difference is that a check summarizes some of the transaction details on a standardized little slip of paper.

That also likely violates anti-spam laws. Unless you are requesting they send payment to a particular email address rather than an address or payee (which no billpay service does), they cant send messages to whatever random email you happen to give them.

Besides, why would the recipient care any more that a random bank tells them “the check is in the mail” instead of yourself? They get the check or they dont, either way; if they dont get the check, their bank account is still empty regardless of who told them what. I think what you mean to say is it’ll make yourself feel better knowing such notification will help validate your excuse when a check gets lost, even though the payee probably isnt going to care beyond the fact they havent been paid.

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The message from a bank would show the payment was actually processed as opposed to a message from the sender which wouldn’t carry as much weight, especially after a weeks time.

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You could provide those details yourself in a screenshot of some sort, with your personal details edited out. Windows Snipping Tool might work for this.

Just forward them your confirmation email from the bill pay service.

I agree with glitch. Who cares if it’s you or the bank? The fact is the person doesn’t have the money. Has the painter questioned your integrity? If not, why are we talking about this?


I don’t get confirmation emails from bill pay. I guess I could take a photo of the page on the screen that shows payment sent and email that to him. If someone owed me money and they said it was mailed over a week ago and I hadn’t received it, I’d think there was something shady going on.

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Then pay in a different manner? You know bill pay means a check must first be processed and printed, and then is mailed to the recipient. And you know that mail can even get lost and never arrived, or take a few or many extra days of transit.

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Well yes, that’s why an email from my bank saying the check was issued would put his mind at ease showing that I did in fact send the money. Man I didn’t think this topic would be that complicated.


Well if someone owed me money (and I was incompetent and didn’t set up payment terms or couldn’t deal with a couple days float), it wouldn’t matter to me if the “check is in the mail”. The only time that matters is when the funds are in my hands. That’s all I mean.

Extraneous information about the customer’s own internal payment progress is just noise and extra expense (time).


Exactly. Plus, if someone cares about who tells them the check had been mailed, the only difference will be if they blame you for losing the check, or blame you for choosing to use a service that lost the check. Unless the payee specifically told you to use a bank bill pay service to send payment in lieu of other options, the blame is going to land at your own feet regardless.

Then how should I have sent $3700 to a guy 1000 miles away?

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I feel your pain. The same thing happened to me. More than once. Sometimes the bill paying agent sends a check drawn on my account. It is not deducted from my account until it’s cashed and paid. Sometimes it sends a check from its own account on Northern Trust that is deducted from my account on the payment date. Sometimes there is no check sent at all and funds are wired. Sometimes they are wired and sometimes they are paid by my check and sometimes they are paid by a Northern Trust account.

There is no method or reason that I can discern (or the bank can or will explain) other than the larger check amount, the higher the likelihood it will be paid through Northern Trust or wired.

I inquired about what happens when funds are withdrawn from my account but never collected by the intended recipient, and no one could articulate any process. It’s apparently all complaint based. I tested this by sending myself a $100 check. The funds were deducted from my account TWO days before the check actually arrived in the mail. They estimate it takes two days to deliver their mailed checks, but it consistently takes 1-2 days more to deliver regardless of sender or recipient location.

Six months later, I never cashed that $100 check to myself and no one at the bank or the bill processor noticed or contacted me. I had to call and complain to get an investigation. It took about two weeks for them to discern that the check had never been cashed (even though I told them I had the check in my possession). They had my money for the duration and apparently had no intention to return it.

One more thing we have to watch and be aware of.