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Can a business refuse to accept pennies or limit the number of coins when I pay?

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Employees of the treasury for Millcreek Township in Pennsylvania was asked if they would accept payment in coins. Soon a woman appeared and proceeded to pay her $200 sewer bill with a box of coins. After requiring four employees to spend an hour each of their time counting the coins the Township decided to adopt a policy prohibiting large payments in coins. As reported in Erie Times-News the new policy limits residents to using $10 in unrolled coins or $20 in rolled coins when paying bills.

Business owners know that accepting large quantities of coins is a hassle that results in lost productivity and potential bank fees. But can a business owner legally refuse to accept coins or bills?

The answer to the question varies based on whether or not the goods or services of already been delivered. Any legal tender currency whether coin or paper must be accepted by a business in any quantity when he customers paying a bill. In some states, but not Michigan, refusing to accept legal tender currency can avoid a bill.

However, if the payment is for goods or services not yet received a business has the right to limit the quantities of each type of currency it will accept. If the customer refuses to abide by a stated policy the business is able to refuse to deliver the goods or services the consumer wants.

Therefore, if you want to limit the number of pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters that you are willing to accept you need to post a policy new your register and make sure the customer is aware of the policy. Remember that at the moment you deliver the goods or services your obligation to accept legal tender currency becomes mandatory and you can no longer stipulate how the bill is going to be paid.

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