HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/20/07)--New legislation that allows businesses to recover costs associated with consumers who write bad checks was signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell Tuesday, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA). House Bill 296, sponsored by State Rep. Rick Stevenson (R-Mercer, Butler), will help businesses recoup costs incurred from handling bad checks by raising the service charge from $20 to $50. The change takes effect in 60 days (Life Is A Highway Dec. 19). The bill allows the service charge to increase to more than $50 if the company handling the bad check is charged more than the new limit by its financial institution. A written notice of the service charge must still be conspicuously displayed at the place of business. While PCUA was not involved in efforts regarding the legislation and did not take an official position on the matter, it felt it should make members aware of the law. “The reason we’re publicizing it is so credit unions have the opportunity to remind members not to bounce checks,” said Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president of communications and marketing. “If they do, it could cost them more from the merchant side. Also, we’re giving credit unions a heads-up so they can inform their small-business members about the change in the law.” In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a person to knowingly write a check without sufficient funds and fail to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of the refusal of the check. If convicted, the check writer must reimburse the payee the face amount of the check, as well as any service charge--if written notice of the service charge was conspicuously displayed on the payee’s premises when the check was issued.