Dubai: If you run your own business in the UAE and receive a bounced cheque from a client or customer, what action should you take?
Do you pursue a legal case for a bounced cheque through a lawyer or report it to the police? If you find yourself in a situation where a cheque you received was dishonoured, here are the steps you should take in the UAE.
How can I report a bounced cheque in the UAE?
When it comes to reporting bounced cheques in the UAE, you have two options to report them, depending on the reason that the cheque was dishonoured.
1. File a civil case
According to the new UAE law decriminalising bounced cheques - Federal Decree Law No. (14) of 2020 – individuals who issued cheques due to insufficient funds no longer face criminal charges. So, if you are the receiver of a cheque that bounced due to ‘insufficient funds’, the option available to you is to file a civil case, according to Ibrahim Khaleel Arimala, managing partner and senior legal consultant at Musaab Ali Al-Naqbi Advocates and Legal Consultants.
“Moreover, the aggrieved party can directly open an execution for the recovery of the amount, if the cheque was dishonored due to insufficient funds. The holder of the bounced cheque can proceed with registration of a ‘performance order’ case before the court,” Arimala said.
A performance order is an order for payment when payment of specific debts does not require a court hearing, because of certain written evidence proving the debt. So, as per the new law, the dishonoured cheque is sufficient evidence to present to a judge and request for the enforcement of the payment through the assets or bank accounts of the person who issued the cheque.
To claim your money from a bounced cheque, you must fill out a ‘Cheque Execution Regulations Form’. This form can either be filled out by the recipient or a lawyer representing them. For a more detailed guide on how to file this form, click here.
Moreover, the aggrieved party can directly open an execution for the recovery of the amount, if the cheque was dishonored due to insufficient funds.
2. Report a bounced cheque through the police
According to Arimala, you can file a case with police authorities only if the cheque bounced because the account was closed after the cheque was issued and before it was submitted for encashing, or if the signature is inconsistent with other bank documents.
“In these situations, it is considered a criminal case and a criminal complaint can be registered,” he said.
This is because the actions listed above are considered as fraud.
According to Dr Ibrahim Al Banna, CEO of Ibrahim Al Banna Advocates and Legal Consultants, if the cheque was found to have bounced due to fraudulent means, then the defendant would be required to serve the penalty, as stipulated by the judge hearing the case.
How do I report a bounced cheque to the police?
If the cheque bounced due to reasons listed under a criminal violation, you can report it in the following ways:
1. Through the Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) smartphone application ‘MOI UAE’. If you live in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras al Khaimah or Fujairah, you must report the bounced cheque through MOI app.
2. Through the Dubai Police mobile application. If the cheque was issued in Dubai, you can file the case with Dubai Police.
3. At your nearest police station.
Reporting a bounced cheque through Ministry of Interior
Before you register a case, you must have the following documents:
• Emirates ID
• Passport copy
• A letter from the applicant, duly stamped, describing why the bank cannot honour the cheque.
• Original cheque
Once you have these documents, follow these steps:
- Log in to the app and choose the service icon, which is available in the police services category – Smart police station services section.
- Select the 'Financial incidents' service.
- A list of all previous incidents will appear. To create and submit a new request, click on the ADD icon.
- Accept service terms and conditions to be able to access the service.
- Move the pin on the map to locate the incident location then click on next button.
- Select the reporting method (writing, voice recording, video recording or taking a photo).
- Enter incidents details, attach any evidence you may have, then click on the ‘Submit’ button.
- Enter your personal details.
- You will receive an application number and can track the progress of your application through the app.
How do I report a bounced cheque in Dubai?
For reporting a bounced cheque you must have the following documents ready:
• Photo of Emirates ID
• Photo of bounced cheque
• Notice of bounced cheque from the bank
Next, follow these steps:
- Download the ‘Dubai Police’ app from the iOS App store or Google Play store.
- Go to the ‘Services’ tab at the bottom of the mobile screen.
- Tap on ‘bounce cheque report’ under ‘Reports Services’.
- Tap on ‘Open new case’.
- Choose the police station – this should be where the incident took place.
- Enter your Emirates ID number.
- Next, choose if the cheque was for a person or company.
- Then, choose if the report was submitted by an applicant or a company.
- Select the bank that issued the cheque.
- Enter the cheque account number.
- Select the number of cheques.
- Enter your email address.
- Upload a copy of your Emirates ID.
- Tick the terms and condition box and click the ‘submit’ button
You can also follow up on the status of your case through the same service on the app.
Filing a bounced cheque case at your local police station
Another option, is to file the bounced cheque case in your local police station. However, the case should be filed in the Emirate where the incident took place.
What happens after I report a bounced cheque to the police?
If a police case is filed against an individual that has issued a bounced cheque, a travel ban can be imposed on them.
“The police will register the case and assign a file number. Additionally, a travel ban, and arrest warrant will be issued against the accused. When the accused is detained by the police, the case will then be transferred to the public prosecution after police has the statement of the accused,” Arimala explained.