Some SiriusXM users having problems cashing settlement checks

The checks are printed directly on postcards and lack an endorsement line, creating issues for members of some small banks.
(Image: SiriusXM/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Some current and former SiriusXM customers say they’re having troubles depositing settlement checks stemming from a recent class action lawsuit.

At the end of May, a settlement administrator began mailing $38 checks to SiriusXM customers who filed a claim over the company’s alleged use of robocalls between 2013 and 2019.

The checks were mailed on a postcard to eligible current and former customers who filed a claim by last October. But instead of mailing checks that separate from the postcard, the checks were printed on the postcards themselves.

A perforated tab along the top of the settlement check directs customers to sign the postcard just as they would any ordinary check. But there’s no endorsement line on the back — instead, the customer’s address and a handful of bar codes are printed — and the unusual method of printing the check is causing issues with some banks who refuse to cash them.

Since The Desk first published a story on the SiriusXM settlement checks, several people have reached out to complain about banks who are refusing to accept them. Most of the complaints revolve around people trying to cash the checks using mobile deposit, a feature offered by some banks that allows a customer to take a photo of the front and the back of the check.

Readers who try to use mobile deposit say they’re being asked to take multiple photos of their settlement checks in order to show certain details, including the account and routing number on the front, while others say the lack of an endorsement line is causing the checks to be completely rejected. A handful of other customers say they’re having problem cashing the checks in person at local banks, with tellers refusing to accept the checks because they look fake.

It wasn’t clear if SiriusXM had received complaints about the checks from customers since they were issued in May. An email sent to Jones Day, the Ohio-based law firm listed as the attorney of record in the class action lawsuit, was not returned as of Tuesday afternoon.

Checks are financial instruments known as promissory notes, and just about anything can qualify as one — even those giant cardboard checks issued to contest winners — as long as it contains a certain amount of information. To qualify for deposit, promissory notes typically must contain information about the payer (including name and address); the name of the payer’s bank; the payer’s routing and account number at the bank; the name of the payee; the amount owed to the payee; and the payee’s signature.

Other things like phone numbers, check numbers and even security seals are often included to thwart check fraud and other forms of theft, but they aren’t technically required in order for a person to send or receive money through a check.

Just because anything can be a check doesn’t mean banks are legally required to deposit items that are suspicious or unusual. If a person tries to deposit a rock for cash, that rock might have all the necessary financial information required, but a bank can still refuse it.

Banks typically do this when they have some reason to believe a check might be a forgery. In the case of the SiriusXM settlement check, the unconventional printing method is causing some tellers and mobile deposit features to doubt the legitimacy of the check.

One way to get around this problem is to go to the bank where the funds associated with the check are held. In this case, the SiriusXM checks are drawing from an account held at Citibank. Even if a person doesn’t have a Citibank account, they should be able to go to a Citibank branch and cash the SiriusXM settlement check there with no problems.

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