Wendy's Informative - Customer Sued For Bad Check
Cheeseburger costly for Kennewick man
This story was published 12/9/02
By Kristin M. Kraemer
Herald staff writer
Wendy's restaurant has a beef with Stewart Taylor of Kennewick over a $4.43 cheeseburger meal.
A self-proclaimed loyal customer of the fast-food chain, Taylor is being sued for $285.20 by the restaurant's collection agency.
The Benton County District Court case stems from a Sept. 3 meal Taylor had with his wife and co-workers at the Richland restaurant. Lunch at the Wendy's on George Washington Way used to be a regular weekday occurrence for Taylor because his busy schedule gave him little time to prepare meals.
Taylor, who bought a single cheeseburger with medium fries and drink, wrote a check. However, he had insufficient funds in his bank account.
About three weeks later, Taylor said he got a letter from Yakima County Credit Service asking him to pay the bounced check and a $35 processing fee within 15 days. He said he was short on money at the time and asked for leniency on the due date.
Then he was served a copy of the lawsuit, in which the credit service is seeking the $285.20, including fees for collection, handling, the attorney and interest.
Taylor has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Robert Young, a Yakima attorney representing the credit service, did not return a call requesting comment.
Taylor, who works in data entry at Hanford, admitted there was some negligence on his part but said the court action is excessive.
"This is crazy for a cheeseburger," he said. "I spend well over $285 there in a year. They're taking this way to the hilt for $4.43."
Taylor said he told the collection agency he would go into the restaurant, apologize to the franchise owner and pay the $4.43 to clear up the matter. But when he called the store, Taylor said he was told to deal with the collectors directly.
He also has contacted the Wendy's corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, but said he again was told officials there have nothing to do with it.
"I figured I could handle it on my own," said Taylor, who has been eating at Wendy's restaurants for at least 13 years because he said it's the only burger joint that serves real ground beef.
A manager at the Richland restaurant who declined to give a name said once customers' checks are deposited at the bank, they are out of Wendy's hands. When a check bounces, the bank automatically sends it to the collection company.
The bad check never comes back through the store, the manager said.
"We are all human, and we all make mistakes once in a while," Taylor wrote in a letter to the restaurant. "Needless to say, this is not an everyday practice for me to write a check and then just let it bounce."
Taylor said he can no longer afford to eat at his favorite restaurant. Now his workday lunch consists of a homemade bologna and cheese sandwich.