1. Ploni takes a US$ check to a money changer and asks for NIS.
2. Moneychanger says: I will hold the check for 3 days; you will pay 0.5% commission; you will receive a rate of 3.695 NIS to $1 (actual daily rate of 3.72-0.025ag profit to money changer).
3. Check bounces.
4. Money changer wants $30 for bounced check; 0.5% commission; and 3500NIS to cover his cost of buying back the dollars he sold to raise the NIS (the $ rate went up to 3.79 on the day he decided to buy back his dollars.
Is ploni liable for anything more than the bounced check fee?
The only payment that must be paid is the bounced check fee.
The other losses that the changer incurred, though regrettable, are not the client’s responsibility. Aside from being a gerama (indirect loss), when a changer changes a check he knows that he takes the risk of the check bouncing. This is part of the job, and the loss cannot be claimed from the client (had he gained money on the deal, due to the dollar going down, he would certainly not have offered the profit to the client).
The 0.5% commission is conventionally taken from the money that is changed, and cannot be charged as a separate fee.
Note that this answer does not relate to the possible ribbis issues involved in this transaction.
Thank you for your quick and clear response.
What might the issues of ribbis be?
There are complex issues of ribis in changing a foreign currency check. Because the money is not readily available (it takes a number of days to receive the money), there is room to consider the transaction as a loan, and the payment of the commision as a payment of interest.
I have written elsewhere at length on the subject, and will bli neder try to post an article on the topic on the site. In general, when changing such checks one should stipulate, and preferably write on the back of the check, that the transaction is made in accordance with a specific heter iska.
Leave a comment