August 25, 2005
More businesses are turning to an Aiken County program to make bad checks good. The program run by the Solicitor’s Office has been up and running for a year and a half now and businesses say it’s amazing. News 12 is on your side with a bad check program that costs taxpayers nothing, but can return thousands of dollars back to them.
A bad check used to deflate Tyler’s Tire Center.
“It’s just a headache to have to try to run somebody down and find out where they are,” said Travis Tyler.
Owner Travis Tyler remembers having to call bad check writers repeatedly, send letters and go to court, all to get paid.
Enter the Solicitor’s check unit. Using software and a database, they get to the bottom of the problem and use their authority to return money quickly.
“We do this on the front end. When they have a bad check we send a letter out saying ‘Look you bounced a check. You need to take care of it and you need to take care of it before we get a warrant’,” said Barbara Morgan, Solicitor.
When Tyler’s Tires had to use the Magistrate’s Office it could take 10 years to get his money back. The Solicitor’s Office has really sped things up, now it can take 5-10 days.
Along with Lexington and Florence, Aiken County was the first in the state to offer this program. In a year and a half, the Solicitor’s Office recovered 3,800 bad checks and $300,000. 260 Aiken County merchants use the program now.
Tyler’s Tires and many other businesses are overjoyed.
“That just takes a tremendous burden off us,” Tyler said.
“It’s the first time when I have merchants stop me in the grocery store and say that is the best thing for us,” Morgan said.
The best thing to get business realigned.
This program isn’t costing taxpayers a dime; it’s paid for by the bad check fees. Individuals can use it to get their money, too. Check recovery has been so successful in Aiken County, Solicitor Morgan said there are plans to expand it to Barnwell and Bamberg Counties soon.