You Learn Something New Every Day

by Chris Bjorklund

When I paid my contractor for materials a few weeks ago, I wrote him a personal check. However, what I didn’t realize until later was that I had entered two different amounts on that check. On the top line after his name, I put the amount due written in numbers: $1, 689.00. And when I wrote out the words as you do on the second line, the words said, “One-thousand eight-nine dollars.”

The contractor argued with his bank when he received a credit for $600 less than he expected. When we investigated the situation (we both thought the banks might duke it out for weeks), we discovered that legally, the written amount in words always trumps the written amount in numbers. Did you know that? I resolved the problem by writing a second check for $600 and got it right this time.