Canceled check cashed six months later

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PHOENIX -- There are a number of reasons why you might stop payment on a check. Whatever the reason may be, you would think that after you stop payment the check would be worthless. But check out what happened to an East Valley woman when she stopped a check.

"I'm upset with the bank," Sandy Rodriquez said.

Rodriquez is upset with Wells Fargo and it all stems from a $125 check that she wrote from her Wells Fargo checking account.

"I told them I wanted to put a stop payment on that check," she said.

Rodriquez says she paid the $29 fee to issue that stop payment and thought it was all over and done with.

"Six months and one day later while I was doing my banking I noticed a check out of sequence for $125," she said.

Rodriquez couldn't believe it. For whatever reason that $125 check that she stopped six months ago had now cleared her account. Upset, she  went to Wells Fargo to find out what happened.

"He goes, 'Well, your stop payment on the check was only good for six months,'" Rodriquez said.

That's right. Rodriquez was told after six months Wells Fargo lifts the stop payment out and whoever the check is written to can cash it just as if the check was written that day.

So, Rodriquez contacted 3 On Your Side.

"OK, well, I'm shocked," Rodriquez said. "I'm like, 'Excuse me, I didn't put a freeze or a hold on it. I put a stop payment on it.'"

3 On Your Side has learned many banks, including Wells Fargo, do, in fact, have time limits on checks that have been stopped.

Rodriquez says she's learned a valuable lesson -- a lesson she thinks you can probably learn from, too.

"Check your bank and find out what their policy is on a stopped payment," Rodriquez advised.

Wells Fargo really didn't do anything wrong. In the paperwork that Rodriquez had to fill out to stop payment on the check, it was clearly stated that the stop payment was only good for six months. But she didn't pay attention to what she was signing. She just wanted her check stopped.

In the meantime, Wells Fargo tells 3 On Your Side that they will return the $125 to Rodriquez as a one-time only gesture.

Rodriquez says she couldn't have done it without 3 On Your Side.