France v. Ford Motor Credit Company
Arkansas Supreme Court
913 S.W.2d 770 (1996)
Harold L. France (plaintiff) entered into an installment contract with Ford Motor Credit Company (Ford Credit) (defendant) to purchase a tractor for $10,035, plus finance charges. France made a $2,000 downpayment. The remaining amount was to be paid in 47 monthly payments or sooner. France decided that he wanted to pay the remaining balance of $8,506.19 in full. Accordingly, France’s wife drew a check on their joint account at the Bank of Eureka Springs payable to Ford Credit for the remaining balance. Pursuant to the contract, France’s wife sent the check to Mellon Financial Services (Mellon). Mellon encoded the amount of the check using magnetic ink so Ford Credit’s bank, Texas Commerce Bank, could mechanically process the check. However, Mellon made an encoding error by incorrectly encoding the amount of the check as $506.19, not $8,506.19. Consequently, Texas Commerce Bank processed the check using the incorrect amount. Once the error was discovered, France’s wife drew a second check for $8,000 and sent the check to Mellon. France’s wife indicated the amount correctly numerically on the second check but wrote the amount out as “Eight dollars and 00/100,” which resulted in only an additional $8 payment to Ford Credit. Though the record did not indicate who stamped the check, the words “Amount Guaranteed to Be” were stamped on the check directly above a handwritten $8,000 figure. France refused to pay the remaining balance thereafter. Thus, Ford Credit sought replevin for the tractor. France argued that Ford Credit must seek recourse from Mellon because Mellon’s coding error suspended his payment obligation and Mellon guaranteed the amount of the second check. The trial court ruled for Ford Credit. France appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Newbern, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 710,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 710,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.