2011 ORS § 30.701¹
Actions against maker of dishonored check
  • statutory damages and attorney fees
  • handling fee

(1) In any action against a maker of a dishonored check, a payee may recover from the maker statutory damages in an amount equal to $100 or triple the amount for which the check is drawn, whichever is greater. Statutory damages awarded under this subsection are in addition to the amount for which the check was drawn and may not exceed by more than $500 the amount for which the check was drawn. The court shall allow reasonable attorney fees at trial and on appeal to the prevailing party in an action on a dishonored check and in any action on a check that is not paid because payment has been stopped.

(2) Statutory damages and attorney fees under subsection (1) of this section may be awarded only if the payee made written demand of the maker of the check not less than 30 days before commencing the action and the maker failed to tender to the payee before the commencement of the action an amount of money not less than the amount for which the check was drawn, all interest that has accrued on the check under ORS 82.010 (Legal rate of interest) as of the date of demand and any charges imposed under subsection (5) of this section.

(3) Statutory damages under subsection (1) of this section shall not be awarded by the court if after the commencement of the action but before trial the defendant tenders to the plaintiff an amount of money equal to the amount for which the check was drawn, all interest that has accrued on the check under ORS 82.010 (Legal rate of interest) as of the date of payment, any charges imposed under subsection (5) of this section, costs and disbursements and the plaintiffs reasonable attorney fees incurred as of the date of the tender.

(4) If the court or jury determines that the failure of the defendant to satisfy the dishonored check at the time demand was made under subsection (2) of this section was due to economic hardship, the court or jury has the discretion to waive all or part of the statutory damages provided for in subsection (1) of this section. If all or part of the statutory damages are waived under this subsection, judgment shall be entered in favor of the plaintiff for the amount of the dishonored check, all interest that has accrued on the check under ORS 82.010 (Legal rate of interest), any charges imposed under subsection (5) of this section, the plaintiffs reasonable attorney fees and costs and disbursements.

(5) If a check is dishonored, the payee may collect from the maker a fee not to exceed $35. Any award of statutory damages under subsection (1) of this section must be reduced by the amount of any charges imposed under this subsection that have been paid by the maker or that are entered as part of the judgment.

(6) The provisions of this section apply only to a check that has been dishonored because of a lack of funds or credit to pay the check, because the maker has no account with the drawee or because the maker has stopped payment on the check without good cause. A plaintiff is entitled to the remedies provided by this section without regard to the reasons given by the drawee for dishonoring the check.

(7) For the purposes of this section:

(a) Check means a check, draft or order for the payment of money.

(b) Drawee has that meaning given in ORS 73.0103 (Definitions).

(c) Payee means a payee, holder or assignee of a check. [1997 c.182 §2 (enacted in lieu of 30.700); 1999 c.707 §1; 2011 c.449 §1]