Burger joint posts names of bad check customers

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by By / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 28 at 10:21 AM

Video: Burger joint owner posts name of bad check passer

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Instead of a scarlet letter, you could call it a 'ketchup' letter.

Customers who bounce checks at Van's Burger in Olympia face public humiliation on a billboard if they don't pay up.

That's currently happening to a customer with the first name of Ryan. Since the business owner's claim cannot be verified, KING 5 is not using his last name.

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But Van's owner is not worried about naming the man.

"There's always been a policy since day one," said Erica Van Lierop, who said Ryan is the third customer in ten years to have his name put on the billboard.

Van's check-bouncing policy is in print - and in rhyme - at the drive-through window.

It reads: For NSF checks there is no huge fee, we'll post it right here for your neighbors to see. Mistakes sometimes happen and we'll give it some time, but imagine next week when you see your name on our sign.

A Thurston County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said Van Lierop had the right to post someone's name on her sign, but she could be putting herself at risk for a civil lawsuit if the check did not bounce, or did as a result of a banking error.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office said posting the actual checks, with account information visible to the public, could cause the business owner problems if that customer's identity was stolen as a result.

Van Lierop is not worried about the legal ramifications. She just wants the $8.36 Ryan was supposed to pay for the burger and fries.

"If he goes and talks to a lawyer I hope he's not going to ask the lawyer to take a check," said Van Lierop.

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