This article addresses questions often brought up by debt relief service providers (DRSPs) regarding the status of missing or late settlement payments that are paid via check. It also explains the different scenarios that take place and the describes some of the steps needed to resolve the issue.
Question: What is the check shipment policy?
Answer: DebtPayGateway Inc (DPG) will be implementing a new check shipments policy effective November 1, 2019. Unpaid checks (Checks with shipped status) with scheduled date greater than 90 days will be subjected to stop payments placed upon them. For example, a check that was issued 6 months ago shows shipped status in DPP. Because this check is beyond the 90 day threshold, it would have a stop payment placed on it and the funds returned to the consumer. Your team would be contacted by DPG about the settlement, and be asked if we should duplicate the payment and have it resent, if the settlement was still valid.
Question: What is the stop payment process? Does it change with the new check shipment policy?
Answer: The stop payment process does not change with the new policy. To place a stop payment, submit a ticket via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the title of the email, please include consumer name and client id and stop payment request. It should look like this: Joe Brown -ABC-534289576 Stop Payment Request. In the body of the email, let us know the following details:
- Payment date
- Payment amount
- If applicable - let us know if you wish to duplicate original details of replacement check or provide updated shipping information or reference# for the new payment if its a check or if you will be scheduling the new payment another method
- Shipment method if replacement check: 2nd day or overnight or regular mail
Question: What do I do if the creditor says payment is lost or never received?
Answer: First thing is to check the tracking # if send 2nd day or overnight. Regular check shipments don't have tracking and therefore should be stopped. Next, inquire if settlement is still valid. If so, consider resending a new check and placing a stop payment on the existing lost check. Shipments considered “lost” should have a new check should be reissued (or alternate payment method arranged) and a stop payment placed on the original check to prevent a duplicate payment.
Question: Why is their a difference between what Creditor says and DPP shows in the system
Answer: There are many reasons for this based upon the situation.
Scenario 1: DPP status shows check is in Shipped status, Creditor says payment received, but not processed yet
This happens when the carrier forgets to scan a tracker or the creditor has NOT yet deposited funds.
There have been instances the carrier forgets to do the final scan at delivery leaving the status of tracking in transit. Likewise, creditors all have different payment processing times. DPG Recommends contacting the carrier to confirm delivery first and then reaching out to the creditor to inquire about payment status. In either case, sometimes a quick call or inquiry can help "push" the settlement to be recognized its there and be processed.
Scenario 2: DPP shows checks is in Shipped status, Creditor says payment was paid.
This very common scenario happens because of a timing issue and usually clears itself after a few days.
In some cases, the creditor receives the check, enters it in their payment system, but then it sits in a queue until they are ready to make their next bank deposit. DPP only updates the check as paid (Cleared status) when its deposited. There have been cases when a creditor insists payment has been paid and has processed SIF document. Under this circumstance, DPG recommends updating the settlement to Cleared to reflect payment. Funds will tracked and set aside so they can be paid in the event the creditor reclaims payment.
Scenario 3: DPP shows Cleared, Creditor says payment is still owed
This is an extremely rare occurrence caused by clerical issues on the creditor side in misapplying funds or a case of fraud whereby someone else has cashed the check. In this circumstance, create support ticket for DPG to have creditor confirm and First Midwest bank to investigate.
Question: Who should pay for the stop payment fee?
Answer: It depends
Scenario 1: Settlement information is entered incorrectly by debt relief service company
Negotiator team or whomever is responsible for setting up settlement in DPP enters incorrect address, wrong reference# information and the settlement gets returned or lost, the DRSP should pay for the clerical error and also pay for subsequent shipping fees to correct the payment. Note: For a check that is returned to DPG's office by the creditor, there is no stop payment fee if the check is returned prior to DPG sending a new payment.
Scenario 2: Settlement information is entered or changed by DPG incorrectly.
DPG will pay for its error and make necessary adjustments to satisfy issue.
Scenario 3: Payment address is correct and there is proof of delivery, but creditor states that they did not receive the payment.
In this case, DPG recommends that the DRSP make the call and determine if consumer pays or if DRSP will pay the fee. In either case, its important to let DPG know so that we can set up the fee correctly.
Question: How are checks that are returned by a carrier as undelivered or return to sender to DPG handled?
Answer: DPG will contact you to let you know a check has been returned to our office. The email sent to you will contain the following verbiage: Please answer the question about duplicating transaction for resending a check or if you will be arranging an alternate payment method. If resending check, please reconfirm address and reference# are correct and then reply to DPG for processing.
The attached check has been returned to our office for above mentioned client. The transaction will be REVERSED but want you to review and advise on the following:
- DUPLICATE TRANSACTION
- DO NOT DUPLICATE TRANSACTION
If DUPLICATE TRANSACTION is desired provide the correct settlement information so that duplicate check DOES NOT get returned as well as future scheduled payments.
Should we not receive any instruction from your office within 24 hours we will update transaction to REVERSED and NOT DUPLICATE TRANSACTION.
What are the fees associated with a stop payment?
Answer: All check related and disbursement fees are listed in the DPG custodial agreement that a consumer signs.
Stop Payment fee* $35.00
*Please advise who will be paying stop payment fee: consumer or DRSP
Question: Why doesn't the tracking # show it was delivered? How can I prove check payment was delivered.
Answer: Checks sent via 2-day or overnight service, can be tracked up to 90 days from the processed date. Carriers typically recycle tracking#s after 90 days and therefore cannot be tracked or be used for proof of delivery due to this limitation. If you just sent the check out, it can take at least 24 hours before the tracking # is updated by the carrier. Please check back the next business day to view delivery status.
Question: What report is available to help me manage check shipments?
Answer: Settlements - UNCOLLECTED SHIPPED CHECKS is now available under the accounting tab to help manage your check shipments.
- Find your Past due, uncollected check payments in transit, etc.
- Sortable data columns like process date, creditor, or payment amount, etc.