RALEIGH, N.C. — There is a huge crackdown this holiday season to make people who write bad checks pay.
Worthless check programs are active in 15 counties across the state including Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Wilson and Nash.
In an era of chain stores, and credit cards, BJ's Grocery in Wendell is a small town store with a small margin for error -- and suffers from bad checks nearly every week.
"We still have a lot of people who write checks," said Anne Britt of BJ's Grocery. "I have probably 15 to 20 a day."
Most clear, but every year at least 50 checks bounce.
"We have to raise our prices," Britt said. "It costs everybody because we can't operate."
Britt says she's lost at least $20,000 from worthless checks. But a Wake County program is helping her and other businesses get some of that money back.
Donna Moye chases bad check writers for Wake County. The worthless check program will collect more than $700,000 from bad checks, this year alone.
That's a 56 percent success rate -- the highest in the state.
"We collect checks from all kinds of people, from little old ladies that somebody's written a bad check -- to big companies," Moye said.
Moye says the program is an efficient alternative to the court system. If offenders pay what they owe, plus fees then they can avoid court.
"When they have to be sent to Judge Rolland and his courtroom a lot of people don't want to see him again," Moye said.