Gold Book: The Check Reclamation Guide

Section 4: Protests

Overview

This section consists of the following topics:

  • General Information
  • How to Protest a Check Reclamation

General Information

Protest: A protest is a request that FMS review its decision regarding the financial institution's liability for a check reclamation.
It raises a valid legal or factual question and includes:

  • A written statement; and,
  • Supporting documentation which proves that the financial institution is not liable for the reclamation

Interest, penalties, and administrative fees will continue to accrue while the protest is under review.

The check reclamation can be paid by the financial institution to avoid the direct debit or accruing interest and penalties while the protest is under review. If the protest is substantiated, the amount paid will be returned to the financial institution, if appropriate.

Note: Unpaid Reclamations which are under protest are identified by a code B in the Reclamation Status column on the Summary of Debt Statement.

Unacceptable Protests: Listed below are examples of unacceptable protests.

  • Protests that are received after 60 days from the reclamation date.
  • Protests that include no or insufficient documentation to substantiate the protest.
  • Protests that attempt to transfer liability from the financial institution to the financial institutionís prior endorser.
  • Protests from any other entity than the financial institution to which the reclamation was directed.

How to Protest a Check Reclamation

Procedure: The table below describes the process to protest a check reclamation.

STEP ACTION
1 Write a letter to the Reclamation Branch requesting a review of its decision regarding the financial institution's liability for the check reclamation.

The protest must include the check symbol and the check serial number so that the record can be identified in the FMS system.
2 Attach documentation to support the protest.

Documentation may include, but is not limited to...
  • Signed statements from payees or other individuals
  • Signature cards reflecting opening and closing dates for relevant accounts
  • Deposit slips
  • Account statements
  • Evidence regarding the death of the payee
  • Proof that the payee benefited from the check proceeds
  • Power of Attorney
  • Release of claim signed by the payee
  • Evidence that the deceased payee's estate reimbursed the federal agency for the full amount of the check
If documentation is not provided, the letter of protest will be returned without consideration.
3 Retain a copy of the Notice of Direct Debit (U.S. Treasury Check Reclamation) while the reclamation protest is being considered.
4 Mail or fax the protest to:

Department of the Treasury
Financial Management Service
P.O. Box 515
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0515
Fax: (215) 574-4163

FMS Response: FMS will send a letter to the appropriate financial institution providing status or the outcome of the protest within 60 days of receiving the protest.

IF the protest was... And the reclamation was… Then…
substantiated paid The accumulated credit will be returned to the financial institution.
substantiated not paid The reclamation will be abandoned and a disregard notice will be sent to the financial institution.
not substantiated paid A denial letter will be sent to the financial institution and the case will be closed.
not substantiated not paid A denial letter will be sent to the financial institution. The financial institution will remain liable for the reclamation principal, interest, penalty, and administrative fees. The amount owed will be debited from the financial institutionís Master Account five calendar days after the bank protest is denied.

   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014