Banks should exchange badly damaged currency
I received a ragged dollar bill as change and asked the teller at my bank if I could exchange it for a good one. He took it but had an irritated look. I asked him if it was part of a bank's responsibility to take damaged or worn-out money out of circulation. He said they don't have to take them, that if it's "really, really bad, we won't exchange it." I asked what a person who had damaged money would do, and he said that person is out for that much money. But that doesn't sound right. Wouldn't the federal government have to make good on that money? Who deals with damaged money and who ultimately takes responsibility? Is a bank required to make exchanges like this?
Answer: You should be able to exchange damaged currencies at any bank, provided that its value can be determined without any special examination.
According to the U.S. Treasury, "Any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, worn-out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the original note and does not require special examination to determine its value ... should be exchanged through your local bank and processed by the Federal Reserve Bank."
"Mutilated currency" is a different matter and handled directly by the federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Currency that is NOT clearly more than one-half of the original note and/or is in a condition that makes the value questionable is considered mutilated currency. Mutilated currency requires special examination to determine its value because of damage by fire, water or chemicals; by animal, insect or rodents; or by being buried.
U.S. currency may be exchanged at face value if more than 50 percent of a note is identifiable or, if less than 50 percent is identifiable, the U.S. Treasury is satisfied that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.
You can mail or personally deliver mutilated currency to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, accompanied by a letter giving the estimated value of the currency and explaining how it became mutilated.
According to the Treasury Department, each case is carefully examined by a mutilated-currency expert. The director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing then will decide whether the claim is valid.
For more information, check the Web site www.ustreas.gov/topics/currency.
To the people who left their rubbish behind after the "Lion King" performance at the Blaisdell concert hall on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 23. We took our grandchildren to the show and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were so disappointed that people who were sitting in our row with what looked to be their grandchild left their rubbish under their seats. What kind of message does that send to the child? I hope people will respect whatever place they go and throw their trash in the trash container. -- Sandra
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