DEFINITION of Missent Item

A missent item is, quite simply, a check written by a bank customer that is not sent to the right bank. This is typically due to a clerical error by an employee of the bank or depository institution. Missent items may also result from postal errors. Missent items result in a delay of payment from the sending bank to the receiving bank.


Missent items can also result in inconvenience to the customer from the delay in posting to the account. Customers who think that their check has cleared may make other purchases in the account, which can result in an account overdraft. Therefore, every effort is made to prevent this type of error from occurring.

Account Holder Liability for Missent Items

In many cases, account holders do not incur liability for missent items. However, the paying bank can hold its customer liable for missent items if the delay in processing or missending is the result of markings made to the item by that paying bank’s customer, assuming those markings obscure or otherwise affect an endorsement that has been appropriately placed by the depository bank.

Items Missent by Postal and Other Errors

Sometimes, items are missent due to errors by the postal system. One notable instance of such a missent item occurred when Oklahoma City Police Det. John Mobley received a missent item in the amount of $100. The check was made out to his name, and addressed to his police headquarters’ address. The item was a money order issued by a bank in Detroit, and signed by a woman who was unfamiliar to Det. Mobley – Olga Kurilchuk.

After some investigation, Mobley was able to determine that the money order was intended for Kurilchuk’s son, who was also named John Mobley, and who was being held in an Oklahoma City jail for public drunkenness. Kurilchuk lived in Detroit, where her son was also from. Both the Oklahoma City jail and the police station shared the same address.

Due to the missending of the item, the intended John Mobley did not receive the money order in a timely fashion. Det. John Mobley was able to track down Kurilchuk and return the money order. By the time the officer located Kurilchuk, however, the jailed John Mobley had been released.