One badge Girl Scouts don't want: Debt collecting - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

One badge Girl Scouts don't want: Debt collecting

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - It's that time of year again - time for Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. But if you plan on buying Girl Scout cookies this year, you may want to head to the ATM first. Some troops are now limiting their acceptance of personal checks because of a new policy.

Emelia is one cute cookie seller, but how is she as a debt collector?

"We're not getting council's backup here with the checks," Emilia's mother said.

In the past, customers not paying cash wrote their checks to the county's Girl Scout headquarters, but starting this year they have to write those checks directly to the troop. So if they bounce, guess who is supposed to go back and collect the money?

"Most people pay cash. Checks are usually only written from people you know," director of sales and retail operations Danielle Savage said.

Savage says San Diego's new policy simply puts our local troops in line with the common practice of Girl Scouts around the country. The goal is to make sure checks are only taken from people the girls know and for small amounts.

"We've always told them to take checks with pre-printed information. It's good business practice, but now people are starting to focus on it now that we're having them put checks in their troop account," Savage said.

Makayla is a serious cookie seller who has already told strangers no checks.

"But they were OK with it," she said.

The Girl Scouts say they don't get that many bounced checks, so it shouldn't be an issue for most sellers. But the county's headquarters did have to chase nearly $2,000 worth of bad debt last year.

Emilia is already well on her way to selling her goal of 50 boxes, and if you write her a bad check watch out. Emilia may be cute, but mom is all business.

"I'll definitely deal with that myself," her mother said.

The Girl Scouts say as long as troops follow the rules for accepting checks, they will reimburse troops for any lost money, including bank fees.

If you want cookies this year, act fast. Since cookies are now sold on the spot instead of ordering and waiting, the selling season has been shortened from nine weeks to six.

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