By Kurtis Ming

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – When Deborah Moore bought end tables from a consignment shop three years ago, she says the owner claimed he lost her check. She put a stop payment on it and wrote him another one. Then, years later she got a surprise.

“I went whoa, this is not right,” she recalls. “This is not balancing,” referring to her checkbook.

Wells Fargo cashed that very check she paid $31 not to cash.

“The stop payment did me no good,” she said.

Turns out a stop payment may not last forever.

“They’re technically just following state law which does state they’re effective for 6 months,” said Beth Mills of the California Bankers Association.

You read that correctly. The California Bankers Association says by law, a stop payment only last six months.

Mills tells us the law dates back to the 1930s.

The Better Business Bureau’s Danielle Spang says that doesn’t seem fair.

“To put a stop payment on a check, they think they’re done. They think that’s it, she said.

We checked with major banks. Bank of America and Chase tell us checks more than six months old are considered stale and they won’t cash them meaning the original stop payment for six months should do the trick.

But we’ve learned Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of the West may cash checks after six months even if you pay for a stop payment unless you pay to extend it.

After we contacted the man who sold Deborah these tables, he said he just found the check and realized his mistake. He returned the money.

Deborah says she’s learned her lesson about checks.

“If somebody tells me they lost it, I’m probably going to have to say that’s your problem. I’m just glad it wasn’t for $10-thousand dollars.”

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