Landlord Says He Never Got My Rent, Can I Get My Money Order Back?

Marty sent his rent in by money order and the landlord says he never got it. Marty is trying to get his money from the money order back, but is finding out that it’s not the same thing as a check.

Marty writes:

Dear Consumerist,

On September 7th 2010 I made the honest mistake of paying for rent via mail with a money order I had drawn from my checking account at Bank of Albuquerque. For my entire life I was under the impression that, in addition to being easier for the recipient, money orders provided the same level of protection for a bank patron as a check. That idea held true until yesterday when I got a call from my landlord.

My landlord just informed me, after nearly 60 days have passed, that he was not in receipt of September’s rent. That’s 2 fully paid rent periods before receiving any type of communication from them.

I still have my original receipt from the money order, the money order number and confirmation from the bank that the money order was never cashed… However, the bank is now “refusing to take the risk” of voiding the money order and having it reissued to me.

What do I do?! Do I have any legal protection in this situation or is this just a very hard way to learn a lesson?

Any advice is appreciated.. Very tired of being talked to like a child and screamed at over the phone it stinks. Two counter clerks, three call center employees and The Branch Manger from hell who screamed at me for literally 10 whole minutes before I was able to get a single word in, a “sir it seems like you are in a rush is there a better time to talk to call you?” with a “NO! I JUST DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOWW!!” and more screaming. I hate not being treated like a human being it sucks. I’ve never taken a ‘snippy’ tone or raised my voice to anyone throughout the whole thing it’s so hard to keep my cool when pro’s aren’t treating me professionally and it’s only going one way… I almost broke my cell phone into pieces.

That stinks. Especially because a money order is not the same as a check and you really don’t have any protections with it. In fact, a money order is more like cash. Where you may have heard that it was easier is that a money order is great for the recipient. A real money order will never bounce, it’s fully backed by the bank (forged money orders are a different story).

With a receipt you should be able to get a refund, eventually. In your case, it sounds like some wires might have gotten crossed in the emotional turmoil over the situation. I think your first step should be to call the bank’s corporate customer service line (not the branch itself) and calmly ask what their policy is about how one goes about filing a refund request for a money order.

Comments

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  1. icntdrv says:

    You need the receipt for the money order. Its a long and drawn out process, but the Western Union Money orders I used to sell at the Chevron station specifically stated that to get a refund or check the status of the Money Order, you MUST have the Western Union receipt that came attached to the money order.

    • icntdrv says:

      Of course, it appears that the bank is stonewalling the OP. Switch to Western Union maybe?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Um, did you not read the post?

      “I still have my original receipt from the money order, the money order number and confirmation from the bank that the money order was never cashed… However, the bank is now “refusing to take the risk” of voiding the money order and having it reissued to me.”

      He has the receipt and has talked to the bank that issued the money order. They tell him they aren’t going to help.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      See below.

      You’ve been RTFA’d! with an assist by pecan.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      and there is a $8 fee to process a refund/trace

  2. muddymaesuggins says:

    “There is also the possibility that it was intercepted and cashed by a third party.” – in the story it clearly states that the bank confirmed that it was NOT cashed.

  3. Muddie says:

    There is also the possibility that it was intercepted and cashed by a third party. “

    Except that in the OP’s letter he states that the bank verified that it hasn’t been cashed.

  4. GearheadGeek says:

    Well, it seems that there is NOT the possibility that the money order was cashed by a third party (not yet at least,) since the bank confirms it’s never been cashed.

  5. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Money Orders =! Checks.

    Money orders are about as safe as money itself, excepting in that you have to take it to a bank to convert it into cash you can actually use

    Think of it as an exchange of currency that only banks accept and will convert.

    I’m sorry that your rent went missing, OP, but you live and you learn, right?

    • DanRydell says:

      =! != !=

    • dolemite says:

      Equal not your analogy is.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Actually, you’re more likely to go homeless if you miss a rent payment.

      Though I’m sure any reasonable judge would toss out the eviction filing if presented with evidence that a MO was purchased, never cashed, and the bank failed to issue a refund. There’s also the 60-days thing, with the landlord accepting further rent payments.

      Then again, what’s the likelihood of getting a reasonable judge?

      • huadpe says:

        Actually, fortunately for the OP, this is a very, very well settled area of law. OP has reasonable evidence to show that she presented a negotiable instrument to the landlord as payment for services, and the landlord never negotiated it. Negotiable instrument law (which covers checks, money orders, and cashiers checks) is very well established, and I think on that front, the OP should be fine in court.*

        *I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      You are thinking of cashier checks… Money orders are meant to be closer to a check than you think.

      Many banks don’t sell money orders and only sell cashiers checks. Can we get confirmation from the OP that the receipt actually says “Money Order” and not Official or Cashier’s check?

  6. areaman says:

    That’s odd. Why would someone ask for rent with a money order? It’s like asking for rent to be paid in cash.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t think the landlord asked to get it by money order. I think the OP just did it on his own, thinking it was a good idea.

      • fatediesel says:

        It’s also possible that the OP had checks bounce in the past so the landlord insisted on cash, money order, or cashier’s check.

    • apd09 says:

      I know that back when I was younger and had less than stellar credit, I negotiated with an apartment complex to rent me an apartment and in exchange I would pay rent via money order every month for the first 6 months of the lease and after 6 months if I never missed a payment I would be able to send them a check.

      The OP could have some type of arrangement like that with them. If you made mistakes and had bad credit it still helps to alert the rental company to what they are going to see on the credit report and try to make a mutually beneficially arrangement like I did and possibly the OP did as well.

    • suez says:

      Many years ago I had a roommate who bounced two checks for her half of the rent. Both times the rental agency insisted we submit a money order to cover that bounced difference. That’s the only time I’ve had to use them.

    • castlecraver says:

      In locales with very tenant-friendly eviction laws (and perhaps one-bitten-twice-shy landlords), a lot of landlords insist on MOs or cashier’s checks, at least early-on in the business relationship. According to some local laws, if a check is returned dishonored the landlord has to give written notice to the tenant and there are minimum grace periods and maximum penalties they have to adhere to. Also, (in California I believe, maybe also elsewhere) it’s legal for them to require cash-equivalent rent payments for (3 or 6, I forget which) months after receiving a bounced check.

      Why one would go to the trouble (and expense) of MOs when *not* required is definitely a head-scratcher though. And I definitely wouldn’t give anyone a cash-equivalent payment unless I was handing it to them directly and got a receipt.

      • spindle789 says:

        It made sense to me when I was living paycheck to paycheck. My landlord would often hold checks and deposit them some time later. With the advent of internet banking and debit card transactions, it became more difficult to keep track of all of the little transactions. Having the rent “paid” and not sitting in my account waiting for the check to be cashed was easier on me, and my book keeping (or lack therof.)

    • 310Drew says:

      As a landlord I no longer accept personal checks. People write bad checks way too often and I get stuck with the fee’s. You can try and charge a tenant the returned check fee, but they know you are not going to kick them out over $39 so they never pay it.

      I now only accept bank checks, cashier checks, or money orders. I also do not give out individual receipts either. I run everything through quickbooks. Rent is due by the 1st, late fee after the 5th, on the 6th a late notice goes out on an invoice letting them know if not paid by the 15th they will received a 3 day notice. On the 16th 3 day notices go out, invoices for the next months rent and a statement showing any payments received. At first tenants don’t like it, but once they understand it they come around.

      • LanMan04 says:

        Maybe you need to find some better tenants…

      • Aennan says:

        Why no receipts? It’s a business transaction. You want a form of payment that causes you the least issue – no problem there. They want to be able to prove they paid you.

      • Megalomania says:

        Sorry, but the no receipts thing makes you an asshole. Or a scumbag. Your choice.

      • amgriffin says:

        Refusing to provide a receipt is extremely sketchy.

      • Gulliver says:

        If I hand you a money order, cashiers or other official check you WILL provide me with a receipt. If you say no, I will gladly put the money into an escrow account and let you sue to evict me. I would then say, I think not supplying receipts means he may be doing something illegal. I am sure the judge might want to have somebody check on that.

      • Pax says:

        Rent is due by the 1st, late fee after the 5th, on the 6th a late notice goes out on an invoice letting them know if not paid by the 15th they will received a 3 day notice.

        Obviously, you’re not in Massachusetts. :) Or at least, you’d better not be!

        Can’t charge a late fee until the rent is a full 30 days late. Can’t give a discount for paying “on time”, either – as the Housing Court has deemed that to be a “reverse penalty” (although one might be able to argue for a discount in cases where the rent is paid at least 30 days ahead of time).

        And it’s a 14-day notice here, not a 3-day notice.

        Where the heck do you live, that has laws that punitive for tenants?!? I want to know, so that I never live there!!

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          Wow, Massachusetts and their brilliant anti-business laws… I would never pay my rent until the end of the month then.

          • Pax says:

            You’d be evicted, then.

            The first time you get a 14-day notice, you have that time period in which to pay what you owe; if you do, then the process stops there.

            However, if you get ANOTHER 14-day notice within a single six-month period? The process does not have to stop. The landlord can take your back-rent payment, smile, and still file for eviction.

            And that notice can be sent as soon as your rent is overdue – typically, “the next morning” at the start of the business day.

            So your trick? Would get you evicted, plain and simple.

      • ames says:

        I would hate to rent from you. I’ve never been late with rent in my life, but the no-receipt policy when asking for rent in what is essentially cash, plus the tone of the comment makes you sound like a total jerk landlord. I wonder if you’re super-prompt when dealing with maintenance and renter complaints?

    • Cantras says:

      I was going to suggest “maybe they had no checking account” but then I RTFA’d. But, I do know people who pay with money order for that reason. this baffles me, we have a small bank across the street from us and it prides itself on customer service so I’m SURE they have a reasonable intro checking account… but that’s a reason for other times.

    • chemicalpink says:

      I pay my rent with a cashier’s check (better than a money order, and free from my credit union – money orders cost something like $3) because my apartment complex has to send my check to their corporate headquarters for processing, and the whole process means it takes them 2-3 weeks to cash my checks.

      • Floobtronics says:

        So what if it takes them 2-3 weeks to get around to cashing the check? It’s 2-3 more weeks that you get to earn interest on your money.

        This is a win.

        • chemicalpink says:

          My credit union doesn’t pay interest on checking accounts. And I won’t switch banks or credit unions if I can avoid it, my CU has made me extremely happy, and they’ve been super helpful any time I needed them to be. Plus, when I pay a bill, I have to know that the money is gone from the account as soon as possible, otherwise I tend to forget about making the payment.

          Now, like most people on Consumerist, you’ll probably “How can you forget that you wrote a check for rent?” The answer? I’m extremely absentminded. I know this. I do what I can so I don’t screw my finances up. This means making sure the money for bills comes out as quickly as possible after paying them: using cashier’s checks helps me there.

    • areaman says:

      BTW I use paypal to pay my rent.

      No issues ever with reciepts, paperwork, mail, etc.

    • Pax says:

      My landlord – the local Housing Authority – won’t accept personal checks. Your options are: Cashier’s check (bad idea), Cash (very bad idea), or Money Order (a hassle, but reasonably secure).

    • shepd says:

      There’s usually only three or four options to pay rent, for most people (Unless you are renting a basement, most landlords won’t take cash):

      – Money Order
      – Personal Cheque
      – Cashier’s Cheque
      – Direct Debit

      Money Orders and Cashier’s Cheques cost about the same, but the Money Orders are typically more convenient (if your post office does them). Personal Cheques give away your bank account information, and if you have a slumlord, you might not want that. Obviously, Direct Debit is just idiotic (But I personally had no choice, although that *is* illegal).

      So, Money Orders come up as the best option for many.

  7. FarkonGnome says:

    Ben, you missed part of her email stating:

    “I still have my original receipt from the money order, the money order number and confirmation from the bank that the money order was never cashed…”

    So it wasn’t intercepted and cashed by a third party.

    • James says:

      Yet.

      My guess is that it’s likely as good as cash if someone DID intercept it and hasn’t cashed it yet, and they may not have a way to stop it from being cashed if they did. Thus, the bank will want to wait until it expires before issuing a refund.

      • Robert Nagel says:

        If someone other than the intended cashes the MO the bank which accepted it is on the hook. I think the originating bank is afraid that the OP actually has the check and will use both it an the replacement in the future. If that happens they have no one to chase but the OP. Not an attractive prospect.
        I think they have been burned before and are twice shy.

    • areaman says:

      “Marty sent his rent in by money order…”

      Marty is a guy.

  8. backinpgh says:

    Do they have any written regulations about the purchase of money orders? If their own policies say that they will reissue a money order if you have the receipt, I would just keep pushing higher and higher using their own written rules till I got the desired result.

  9. elangomatt says:

    It sounds like the OP has all the documentation that they need for getting the money back. I think the OP just needs to keep escalating the issue with the bank they got it from. The whole point of that receipt on the money order is to give the purchaser some recourse if the money order goes missing. Back when I used to sell Western Union money orders, there was definitely a way of getting the money back if it wasn’t cashed. It was a major pain in the butt, but you can understand that it needs to be hard to prevent fraud.

    I don’t see why the bank things they are taking a risk on re-issueing the money order. If someone does try to cash the money order after it is voided, can’t the bank just say the money order isn’t valid when it tries to clear? The place that is trying to cash the money order would have to deal with it at that point.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      If the bank acted as an agent for third party (ie Western Union) then they don’t have the money and therefore take a risk. You’d have to go through the third-party’s refund process.

  10. mbd says:

    The problem is that this is a money order, sold by the bank but most likely issued by a private company. It’s not a “bank/teller” check. He needs to contact the issuer of the Money Order for information on how to proceed. The US Post Office will issue refunds for their money orders if they are not cashed in 6 months, and you fill out a bunch of paperwork. Western Union and other corporate issued money order companies have their own refund policy. Unless the bank is the actual backer of the money order, they can not help you.

  11. Murph1908 says:

    Odd that the landlord took so long to report his missing rent. Is this a company? Reputable? Or a potentially shady individual?

    Outright Speculation:

    Landlord gets the money order. He stuffs it in a drawer, and tells you 60 days later he didn’t get it, figuring you’d lose the receipt by then. You pay him again. 90 days down the road, he cashes the money order, and you are none the wiser.

    • veritybrown says:

      That’s kind of what I was wondering. It doesn’t say how this guy pays his rent–by mail? by inserting it in a drop box? Frankly, I would never trust such an important payment (especially in what is basically a form of cash) to the postal service, certainly not without delivery confirmation as an added precaution. The important question to be asking here is WHY didn’t the landlord get the payment. And why did he wait so long before notifying the tenant that it hadn’t arrived? I’ve never heard of a landlord waiting that long to ask a tenant about a missed rent payment.

      • Bativac says:

        I have to agree with you. When I was renting, we always dropped the rent off to the property manager himself, then monitored the account for the next week to ensure it was cashed. If it wasn’t, we called to verify that they still had the check and hadn’t misplaced it.

        Paranoid maybe, but I’d hate to be in the OP’s position where I hear about it 60 or 90 days later.

      • njack says:

        Purely speculation here, but if the OP is using MOs to pay rent there is more than likely more to the story, such as previous arrangements due to poor credit or previously bad checks passed. The next likely assumption is the finances for the OP are tight, living paycheck to paycheck, possibly floating payments, and not wanting to risk rent bouncing. A person living in financial circumstances like this are unlikely to spend any extra cash, regardless of how minimal it might be to pay for delivery confirmation services.

        • Pax says:

          Don’t assume the OP is a bad person.

          My landlord – the local housing authority – requires Money Orders (the alternatives – cash or a cashier’s check – are simply not even worth considering). They require it of EVERYone, no exceptions, regardless of credit history, or any other factor.

    • Hoot says:

      I thought the same thing. I have dealt with the absolute shadiest local property management company known to man, and a pretty bad national property management company as well. I literally had to call 20 times to get them to “find” my money order. The delivery confirmation stated it was delivered and signed for, but yet they couldn’t find it. Shady shady shady.

  12. grucifer says:

    Certified checks are the best way to go with amounts as large as rent surely is. A certified check is like cash being that it can’t bounce (already been paid for, like a money order) but it requires a signature from the person it is written to.

    Since the money order wasn’t cashed you ought to be able to put a stop payment on it for a fee.

    Definitely go with a certified check next time!

  13. tz says:

    If you have a checking account the landlord should take the check (you might have to agree to reimburse bounce fees). That said, see if there are terms and conditions – you may have to wait some longer time period – at some point they will not honor the money order (generally they check dates which are way out of whack), and at that point they might refund it.

    My credit union charges a nominal fee for American Express money orders (or did – it has been a while), or the post office sells them. You might wish to change banks or issuers (how often do I have to post CREDIT UNION?).

    Finally, it might be possible to recover in small claims court – I would get a statement from your landlord or even have him show up.

  14. Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

    Money orders are often required by a landlord once a personal check from a tenant has been returned NSF. Not saying that’s what happened to the OP, just a common reason to use a money order to pay the rent.

    Money orders are pretty safe- If he has the original reciept, he can get a refund/reissue. It will take time, and it sounds like the first person he talked to at the bank was just misinformed/uncooperative. Take your reciept, go back and talk to someone else, and don’t leave until someone has explained the process for how to get your refund. Good luck!

  15. FatLynn says:

    No details on the actual bank makes this a little trickier to troubleshoot.

  16. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    What type of money order was it and where did she get it? The bank issued a Western Union money order? Banks issue money orders? AFAIK “the bank” doesn’t have your money. They just got a commission for selling you WU. You have to go through WU to get your money back.

  17. backinpgh says:

    Why did this article magically change?

  18. ShruggingGalt says:

    Article is wrong, money orders CAN bounce. Google “money order scam”

    What the bank is telling you is wrong.

    Money orders do not equal cash anymore, mainly because of the amount of fraudulent ones out there. If they can tell that it hasn’t been cashed, then they can cancel it.

  19. zatoism says:

    I pay my rent with certified bank checks. My landlord won’t accept personal checks – he prefers cash. Why? That’s neither my business nor my concern. It’s NYC – this happens a lot. But the first time I tried to pay him, he acted shady about writing me a receipt, so then I insisted on cashier’s checks from then out. And I Fed Ex them to him so I have proof of receipt as well. I would really prefer personal checks, but this works.

    • Stubtify says:

      Wow. Is it really that hard to find a good landlord in NYC? Cash is a no go for me… need a paper trail as well, but it seems extreme to have to go as far as Fed-Exing the thing.

      • Hoot says:

        I always do now that I had two cashier’s checks “lost”. And even after I started tracking them, the property management company TWICE said that they couldn’t “find” the check after I had confirmation it was delivered and signed for.

        A lot of these people/places seem to just not care. Or at least ones I’ve dealt with.

        • MrEvil says:

          Being a suspicious person that I am, I’m often wondering if a landlord that insists on cash payments isn’t laundering money for someone. It’d be easy enough to get names and Social Security numbers of dead people and claim they’re renting from you and paying cash every month. Same thing with self storage places.

    • dg says:

      Two problems:

      1) You may be paying a fee for the cashier’s check to be issued

      2) You may be paying for the FedEx package to be sent to the landlord

      3) Sending via FedEx only proves that you sent an envelope via FedEx. Not that anything was inside of it. Same issue exists with Certified mail from the USPS – yeah, you sent a certified envelope, not that anything was inside. To prove what was sent, you need a disinterested third party to personally serve the item upon the recipient and to provide you with proof of service. Then if, and when, you need to go to Court, the server goes to Court, says prima facie that such and such was delivered to so-and-so, and it’s proven to be such. (In some States servers have to meet certain qualifications, so YMMV).

      I’d give the landlord his cash, and pre-write up a receipt that he signs when he gets the cash… So long as you pay, it’s not in his best interest to toss you out for some BS reason. Yeah, he could make something up if he wanted, but if he’s that shady – he’s going to say “Ummm, dude sent me an empty envelope by FedEx. Thought it was weird, but U know New York!” – and he’d probably have some equally shady friend cash the check for him and say it was stolen…

      • Stubtify says:

        I used to hate that my current landlord has me deposit the check right into her bank account…now I’m thinking it isn’t too bad a situation.

        Of course in 10 years of renting (and paying by check) with multiple landlords I’ve never come across one lost check…maybe I’ve gotten lucky with good landlords here in Long Beach, CA.

    • shepd says:

      Usually US consumer law is better than Canadian. You should check with your equivalent of the Landlord Tenant Board and see if this is legal. Where I am, not giving a rent receipt is illegal, and could be grounds for free rent until provided if you pushed the issue to court. Also, (legitimate) cheques of all forms must be accepted.

  20. backinpgh says:

    Seems like no matter the outcome here, a change in banking institutions is in order…they have no concept of customer service that’s for sure.

  21. techstar25 says:

    I had that same thing happen to me. I had mailed a money order to pay a traffic ticket, by certified mail and it just got lost in the mail. The post office was useless.
    The money order was issued by my bank, WaMu (who gave free money orders if you had a checking acct). I just went back to the bank and explained the situation. I ended up talking to the branch manager. It took her about 24 hours, but she did determine that the money order was not cashed. Then she went ahead and put a “stop payment” on the money order. It then took a few more days for me to get my money back, but sure enough I got the money back.

  22. Hoss says:

    If someone is screaming at you, your approach is wrong. If they are not being professional, or are not giving the right answers, ask if there is a manager that can help.

    • grumpskeez says:

      Two counter clerks, three call center employees and The Branch Manger from hell who screamed at me for literally 10 whole minutes before I was able to get a single word in, a “sir it seems like you are in a rush is there a better time to talk to call you?” with a “NO! I JUST DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOWW!!” and more screaming.

      Like the screaming branch manager he described above?

  23. guspaz says:

    How could a money order possibly be simpler for the recipient? A cheque (which is free to write on a chequing account) can be cashed (at least in Canada) by depositing it in any ATM. A money order costs money to get, and can only be deposited in an ATM if it’s issued by the bank; if it’s issued by the post office or some other institution, you need to go there to cash it.

    • backinpgh says:

      If the person paying has a nasty habit of bouncing checks, then accepting a check from them is in no way more convenient than a money order.

      And no, post office money orders can be deposited at your bank just like any other money order. Besides, I doubt many landlords are depositing their rent checks in an ATM. ?

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      Money orders don’t bounce.

    • chocolate1234 says:

      Plus, a LOT of tenants get money orders/cashiers checks because their landlords are notorious for waiting to cash checks. I used to have a lot of customers that were annoyed that it took their landlord weeks to cash their rent, so they’d just get a cashier’s check or money order instead so the money was taken out of their account immediately.

    • Pax says:

      Not all landlords accept personal checks. Mine doesn’t.

  24. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Make one phone call…to Chuck Norris.

  25. dulcinea47 says:

    The OP ought to try *going* to the bank and getting a human being in person to help, instead of calling… results are often better that way, in my experience with banks.

    Back when my credit was terrible and I didn’t have a bank account for a while, I always paid rent with a money order… the only trouble I ever had was when the landlord said he never got it, I took in the reciept and found that in fact, he *had* cashed the money order. (I believe they were able to see who cashed it, just like with a check.) Stupid crap landlord.

  26. Tim says:

    I think this would be easier if it were a cashier’s check. Maybe try a cashier’s check next time.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Whoa… Cashiers checks are about the worst if they get lost… Money orders are supposed to be stoppable.

  27. chocolate1234 says:

    The bank should be refunding his money. I used to have to deal with this occasionally, and as soon as we could confirm that the money order had NOT been cashed, we were able to put a stop on it and issue a new one. He may have to pay a small fee to stop the check, but it’s well worth it. He should go up the chain of command at the bank, and once this situation has been resolved, he should close his accounts and go elsewhere. There is no excuse for the way the branch manager treated him.

    In the future, he might want to consider official/cashier’s checks. Basically the same thing, but looked upon a little more favorably by banks.

  28. MitchV says:

    Does Bank of Albuquerque not have online billpay? I don’t understand how using a money order even entered into the transaction.

    On rare occasions that I *have* used money orders, I always use US Postal MOs.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Online bill pay for what, exactly? Paying rent to an individual landlord? Read the article.

      • cosmic.charlie says:

        I can send individual checks to people for any amount from my bank via the online service for free. Saves me the $0.33 or whatever stamps are going for now a days.

        • Pax says:

          Anyone who (like my landlord) doesn’t accept personal checks, though … simply isn’t an option for that service.

  29. coffee412 says:

    This is why you (1) have a checking account, (2) Get a receipt when paying for things. A money order is basically money on paper. Thats it. I wouldnt even entertain the idea of paying for something without a receipt. You basically have no proof that your landlord cashed the money order with the way the banks work today. Why dont you have a checking account? Get one and do your reconciliation at the end of each month. Most banks you can login or call in and see if checks have cleared. You can even request copies of checks. Good lesson for anyone else not having a checking account. Of course, If you tend to welch on your debts getting a checking account is gonna be a bit hard. Most people I have experienced that dont have checking accounts – dont for a reason.

    • Pax says:

      No, you’re thinking of a Cashier’s Check.

      Also – my landlord won’t give me receipts, and, won’t accept personal checks.

      Think I can take them to court over that? HA!! My landlord is the fecking government …!

      Think I can just move out? HA, again!! I live in subsidised housing for a reason, and it’s not “the amenities” …!

  30. Stubtify says:

    I used to hate that my current landlord has me deposit the check right into her bank account…now I’m thinking it isn’t too bad a situation.

    Of course in 10 years of renting (and paying by check) with multiple landlords I’ve never come across one lost check…maybe I’ve gotten lucky with good landlords here in Long Beach, CA.

  31. Floobtronics says:

    The post states, “money order I had drawn from my checking account”.

    So, why on earth would he do that? Why not just write a check for the rent??? If he’d written a check, he wouldn’t have this problem.

  32. fr34k says:

    Only because i Ctrl+F’d and didn’t see it:

    Why cant you all just show them your receipt?

  33. duncanblackthorne says:

    Lady, you done goofed.
    Mailing in your rent? Sketchy at best, unless you pay for premium delivery to guarantee when it arrives. Additionally you should require a return receipt so you can prove it arrived. Using a money order? Sorry, I don’t see that as smart. I’d’ve got a cashier’s check, not a money order, too. When it comes right down to it I think this amounts to a lesson learned the hard way for this woman, and she’s just going to have to try to salvage the situation as best she can, but it’s nobody’s fault but her own.

    • mrscoach says:

      “Dude, you done goofed”

      There, fixed it for you. The pic may be of a woman, but Marty is a guy.

    • Pax says:

      There was a time when I had no alternative but to mail in the rent.

      I live in subsidised housing. Which means, my landlord is a Housing Authority.

      I live fifty-plus miles out of Boston. Nonetheless, for the first four years of my tenancy here, all rent – from several thousand properties across this city – had to be paid by mail … winding up in a P.O.Box in Boston.

      Even if I hand-delivered my rent payment to the local office, you know what they did? Asked me to supply a stamp for the envelope, because THEY would just mail it to Boston, anyway.

      I didn’t have the option of return receipt service, because … yep … Post Office Box. Also, required to use the provided envelope, with no additional markings or labels.

  34. Mom says:

    I don’t understand why the OP didn’t just write a check for the rent. I’ve never lived anyplace that wouldn’t just take a check.

  35. haggis for the soul says:

    Go into a branch of the bank with the paperwork. You’ll need to fill out the claim form to stop payment and retrieve the money.

  36. Pax says:

    This is why you keep your receipt.

    You should call the issuer, with the money order’s serial number in hand, and verify it’s payment status. If it hasn’t been cashed, you can get a refund (less maybe $20).

    If it HAS been cashed, they’ll even tell you who cashed it.

    I once got – on Christmas Eve, of all nights! – a 14-day Notice to Quit, the first step in an eviction, “for nonpayment of rent”. I pay by money order (my landlord pretty much requires that), so I tracked down the serial number, and called the issuer (Western Union).

    Turns out, my landlord had cashed the frelling thing five days before sending that notice out.

    Imagine, if you like scenes of verbal violence, the “discussion” that ensued between me and my landlord the first day post-Christmas that their office was open. >:

    • Pax says:

      Yeah, yeah, before anyone RTFA’s me, I did just now catch the bit where she has the receipt, and the bank refuses to refund the money.

      Which means my advice changes, and becomes “GET A LAWYER. Sue the bank’s fecking pants off. Then close all your accounts and choose a different bank to do business with. Or better, a credit union.”

  37. 4Real says:

    I had that happen to me with a Apartment deposit. I mailed the Money order and they tell me they never got it. I contacted the money order company you file a refund form and you get your money back after they investigate the order #.

  38. Link_Shinigami says:

    I actually sent a secure money order just recently for some headphone repairs, funny thing, I was told that if the money order is cashed, end of story. If it’s cashed, you’re on the hook for the money that went through. If it’s not cashed? Then they can (Charge you in Canada via TD Bank) hit you with some fees (10-15 bucks).

    Basically, if it’s cashed, you can’t get a refund. You can kindly (pray) and request they track who it went to, and if you catch the person that had it go to them saying they didn’t receive it, you might be able to hit them with fraud.

    • Pax says:

      Also, if you discover that your money order was intercepted, and cashed by someone other than the recipient listed on the check?

      File a police report. Get the guy arrested and charged for fraud. Then file suit in civil court.

  39. Triterion says:

    My Dad had this same problem but he got his money order from the Post Office, the post office will give you your money back with the receipt but they take a full 30 days to do it and they mail it to you snail mail. Weak!

  40. Vandil says:

    That bank branch may have money orders confused with cashier’s checks and official checks, which are “risky” and require a Stop Payment, an affidavit and a bond for re-issuance.

    For a money order, you should simply get a Stop Payment placed on it. This usually costs you a fee. Then have them reissue a new money order or credit your bank account and get a money order from a Post Office.

    Lastly, NEVER trust a landlord with a payment in a drop-slot. Hand them the payment in person at the rental office and demand a receipt. If the item never gets negotiated, you have proof you remitted it and can argue to have any late rent fees waived and have the landlord pay for the stop payment and re-issuance fees for a replacement item.

  41. sopmodm14 says:

    wow, thats totally different from those happy, smiling guys in the commercials….seems like regualar actors make better banking employees than those at BOA

    if BOA made it out, they better back it up….my HSBC charges $5, but the post office charges $1.50, and CVS charges $ 1.75

    if it was never cashed, i don’t see a problem or risk of having it voided….after all, its for their customer/client financial protection….and if they cant do that, how can ppl deposit their money?

    likewise, can’t they say, oh, well, we never received your deposit, so it wasn’t in your account…we can’t take the risk, too bad.

  42. Levk says:

    Leave bank there are more out there

  43. WickedCrispy says:

    This happened to me and 2 roommates. What’s different is that the manager lady said her courier was “robbed” and our initial deposit and 1st month’s rent was “stolen.” Two days after having moved in we are told this made up nonsense along with a nice big red eviction notice posted on our door for all the neighbors to see, stating to repay everything we already did, or to move out.

    How did we get the keys if we never paid any money? They wouldn’t talk to us because they thought they could strong-arm us out of the place before we ever moved in while stealing our money orders, but we stayed and told them we’ll see them in court.

    There was a police investigation, and we still had the stubs from the money orders and paid something like a $20 fee to have the place put a trace on it, saying it was cashed and by whom. I don’t know what happened, but I’m pretty sure the lady and her pals served some jail time.

    I don’t know how the bank could refuse to void the money order if it’s not been cashed, because all that will happen is when your landlord tries to cash it he’ll be declined or get slapped with a fine or fraud when it all catches up with him. You could also try to find a small-time lawyer in the yellow pages or online that will give a free consultation.

  44. hansolo247 says:

    I have a feeling the money order is because the rent was late.

    My rent has always been due on the 1st of the month. If you’re late, only then do they require money orders.

    It is so ghetto to do money orders, too.

  45. Jeniana says:

    I read through all the comments, and I see people mentioning cash, cheques, cashier’s cheques, money orders, etc to pay their rent, but I see no one mentioning debit. Perhaps this is just a Canadian thing, and you simply don’t have the option of debiting in most US apartments? Or is debit just not that common in general? I can understand not having it if you’re renting from a landlord who has just a few units, but if you’re in an apartment building, I would think it would be easier for the landlord. No cheques to deposit, no worries about anything bouncing – you get the money then and there. Yes, you have to get the debit machine, but I think it would still be less hassle than depositing cheques and chasing after renters who bounce cheques.

    I think it would be simpler for the tenant, too – I don’t have to worry about my bank balance until the cheque clears, and I have a receipt that shows that I paid immediately, and it’s on my bank statement exactly how much I paid, when I paid it, and who it went to. I also get another receipt from the rental company a few days later. It would be cheaper and easier for tenants whose landlords won’t accept cheques from them anymore, too – no need to buy a money order or cashier’s cheque or whatever.

    I only have the options of debit or personal cheque at my building (they requested a money order for the deposit, though) – they refuse to take cash, which is fine by me as I wouldn’t want to carry that much cash on my anyways. I prefer debit as it’s simpler and quicker than a cheque, and I have immediate confirmation that my rent is paid.

    I just think debit is a simple way for both the rental company to get their money right away and for the renter to know their rent is paid right away.

  46. Daniellethm says:

    I had a similar experience last December, luckily my landlord is a very sweet old man. We had to pay via money order for the first 6 months, then we could pay by check.

    Well, being within the money order time frame, we mailed it to him as usual (I have no idea why we used to mail it, he lives across the street). Two weeks later he calls me and tells me he hasn’t received our rent yet. I tell him it was mailed, offered to show him our receipt, blah blah. He says it won’t be necessary, that he had four other tenants whose rent had vanished as well, and that we should cancel the money order and just try to get a new one.

    We had used Moneygram, and on the back of the receipt was their website, where we could fill out a form and mail it with a photo copy of our original receipt. I mailed it the day we knew the rent went missing, but we didn’t get our refunded money order for three months! Our landlord was very nice about it, we told him we couldn’t afford to pay December’s rent until we got the money order back, and he said not to worry, that he wouldn’t charge us a late fee or anything, just to get it to him whenever we got it back. Needless to say by January he had installed a drop box for our rent, so that this wouldn’t happen again.

  47. EHarley says:

    This happened to me once. I was really freaked out. The bank, Wells Fargo, said that if I got an insurance policy guaranteeing that the old money order wouldn’t be cashed until it expired (like 30-60 days from then), they would cut me a new one. I found a local insurance agency and they wrote the policy.

  48. Alisha Gray says:

    A very similar situation is happening to me and my roommate right now. We’ve been paying with money orders, and we just got told by the land lord that we haven’t paid rent in two months and we’re going to be sued for the two months of rent they claim not to have received. Of course, we can’t afford to pay it off because all our money has gone to rent!

  49. pot_roast says:

    If this bank is that incompetent and a branch manager actually screamed for ten minutes at you, I would close all of my accounts immediately and then sue the bank in small claims court.

    A lawsuit might get the proper wheels turning quickly… and a branch manager reassigned to a more appropriate job.