You can ask the bank to stop a cheque you have written. If this happens it means that the person or company whose name appeared on the cheque will not get paid. However, you cannot stop a draft.
While it is not illegal to stop a cheque, it is a criminal offense to hand over a cheque if you intend to stop it later, although this can be difficult to prove. It is also illegal to give a cheque knowing that it will bounce.
If you pay for goods or services by cheque and then stop the cheque, court action can be taken against you for the money owing. Court action can be taken even if you do not owe any money, for example, if you return the goods after you have bought something and then stopped the cheque.
How do you stop a cheque?
To stop a cheque, you should contact the bank straight away.
A charge will usually be made to stop a cheque. A stop on a cheque lasts indefinitely unless a time is agreed such as when you want to put off payment until you have enough money in your account.
If a bank pays out after a cheque has been stopped, the bank must repay the money to the account holder. The bank cannot say it is not responsible for this. The bank can recover the money from the person who has been paid.
If the payee did not realise that the bank had made a mistake and then used the money in a way they would normally do, the money may not be recovered by the bank. This can be a difficult area of the law and the payee may need to take more advice from a lawyer.