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Can Bank Return Counterfeit Money Orders?

Our customer deposited 4 US Postal Money Orders on 12/13/04. Today 2/16/05, we received 3 of the Money Orders returned as counterfeit items. What is the Bank's responsibility for these items? Can we return them late for reclamation, as they were returned after the midnight deadline? Does our customer have any recourse?

Answer by Randy Carey: There is no midnight deadline on Postal Money Orders. Here are the rules for reclamation:

"The postmaster general has the right to demand refund from the presenting bank of the amount of a paid money order if, after payment, the money order is found to be stolen, or to have a forged or unauthorized endorsement, or to contain any material defect or alteration not discovered on examination. Such right includes, but is not limited to, the right to make reclamation of the amount by which a genuine money order with a proper and authorized endorsement has been raised. Such right must be exercised within a reasonable time after the postmaster general discovers that the money order is stolen, bears a forged or unauthorized endorsement, or is otherwise defective."


Answer by John Burnett: The Postal Service has an excellent "take one" pamphlet that describes the security features in its Postal Money Orders. You can download it at

First published on 4/4/05

First published on 04/04/2005

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