Can a rebate check really be "Void after xx/xx/xx"

The check is dated 01/13/05 and void after 03/14/05. Is this legal or simply an attempt at simplifying accounting?

Thanks in advance!

Yes. A check is a contract, and the maker of the check can choose to set up any terms for that contract. If the check says it is void after a certain date, the person issuing the check can simply stop paying.

It’s possible for a rebate they’ll wait a few days after the deadline for any late checks, but part of the reason they give rebates is that not all rebates are claimed, which let’s them keep the money. You can be sure that whoever is offering the rebates is going to close the account after the cutoff date.

A check is not a contract, Chuck. It’s a separate animal. Contracts require consideration – checks do not.


The contract is spelled out in the original rebate form that is usually either supplied at the time you purchase (like BestBuy does) or when you go to there website and fill out the rebate form (like Sony does). In these contracts there is always a mention of specific time frames in which you have to send in the rebate and other various stipulations. I don’t feel like looking through all that junk right now, but it wouldn’t suprise me if the amount of time you have to cash in their check is hidden in there somewhere. It’s probably referred to as the “Rebate Program Closure Date” or such.

Is that something they can control though? I could stipulate in a contract that you must deposit my cheque at such-and-such a bank, but I don’t think I can do anything to said cheque to prevent you from depositing it anywhere else.

Depositing a check dosen’t mean it’s going to clear. It is not at all uncommon for there to be limits on how long a check is good for. Just look at your income tax return check. Says something like void after 180 days or such.

Expiration dates on checks are not binding.
A given bank MAY choose, at its sole option, to respect the expiration date, but it is equally likely to ignore the expiration date.
The terms under which you opened your checking or savings account may clarify how your bank will respond should you attempt to negotiate an expired financial instrument.

Now, hold on a second. We know that one cannot post-date a check and expect that date to be enforced by law. See QED’s answer, for example. Certainly someone can put a clause in a contract that says that each person has to take such-and-such action by some date, but why would an EXPIRATION date on a check have any legal force if a VALID ON date does not?

I have no idea what the answer is, but it seems like the responses so far are on the wrong track altogether.

No check is good forever. It must be cashed within a reasonable time. The drawer can specify on the check what is a reasonable time.

Because in this particular case it is not just the check alone. Its the contract that you entered into by accepting the rebate that gives them the right not to honor the check after such and such a time. The fallacy is in considering the check by itself. But you never would have gotton the check if you hadn’t agreed to the terms of the rebate contract.

Go ahead and cash it after the expiration date.
The bank MAY cash it. If they do it will bounce and a bad check charge will appear on your statement.

They are certainly free to cancel the cheque after that date, and I don’t imagine you would have any recourse should you deposit the cheque and it bounce, but if they don’t cancel the cheque, then I don’t see what the bank is going to do about it.

The rebate company could sue you for breach of contract, but should they say to the bank “You can’t cash that, it says don’t cash after XXX”, the bank isn’t going to do squat.

Checks can have expiration dates even if they have nothing to do with any sort of contract. I have in my hands a tax refund check from the Treasurer of the State of Illinois which states that it is void after twelve months. If you don’t have automatic deposit and get an old fashioned paycheck, it will almost certainly have an expiration date. Businesses and government entities which issue large numbers of checks know that a certain tiny percentage won’t get cashed due to death, loss, or oversight, and they don’t like having that liability hanging over their heads forever, so they put expiration dates on their checks.

Where are people banking at where the bank just cashes checks as you hand them over? Everywhere I’ve been banking put’s a hold on funds until they clear. Unless of course the funds were drawn on an account from that very bank. If you write checks against an uncleared check you would be liable when the funds didn’t clear.

Anyway, what I would like to know. If I place an exparation date on a personal check of mine, no implied contract at all, does the bank have any liability when they cash it? I suspect not because I have no contract with the reciever that I can enforce in court. Where as a tax check or ultility refund check probably has an obsure document or law related to it that lets them do this.

The “obscure document” is the account agreement which the bank gives to you when you open the account. It stipulates how the bank will handle post-dated checks, out-of-date checks, and “restricted legend” checks, among other things. (“Restricted legend” is the technical term for “void after” checks that we’ve been discussing in this thread.)

I consulted my bank’s account agreement and learned the following:

If I were to open a business account, I’m sure this clause would read differently, because businesses value the “restrictive legend” capability and are willing to pay for it, whereas consumers typically don’t care.

There’s one other point in my account agreement which bears on this thread:

In other words, not only will they not honor a time restriction that I impose, but if I don’t impose a restriction, they might impose one of their own! Or not. It’s their choice, and I have no recourse either way.

This sounds harsh, but again, consumers don’t care about this stuff. I’ve happily lived my entire life without ever once wanting to place a time limit on one of my checks, or finding that the bank wouldn’t honor one of my checks because the recipient waited too long before cashing it.