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Commissary $25 Rubber-Check Fee Starts Feb. 1

Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT LEE, Va., Jan. 14, 1999 – Commissary shoppers starting Feb. 1 face a new $25 administrative fee if their checks bounce on the Defense Commissary Agency.

Agency officials estimated shoppers wrote 43 million checks to commissaries worldwide in fiscal 1998 -- about 71,000 bounced and 22,000 eventually went to debt collection. The new fee is a business requirement recently passed into federal law, and it is similar to those charged by retailers and installation morale and welfare activities, they said. Stores previously levied no fee if a customer made good on a dishonored check within 30 days.

The commissary -- or the Subsistence Finance and Accounting Office, Europe, in the case of that theater -- will collect the $25 fee when the patron redeems the dishonored check. The fee is waived if a check bounces because of a bank error.

An additional $15 charge can be slapped on a dishonored check not redeemed within 30 days. Customers who don't make good on their own may find the debt deducted from the pay of the military member or sponsor. Military members are liable for family members' bad checks.

Informational signs about the new procedures are being posted in commissaries this month.

(From a Defense Commissary Agency news release.)

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