Finance 101: Don’t Bounce Cheques

In a week when the Edmonton Oilers play the Canucks four times and may well lose all four, maybe I have something that cheers up Canucks fans. Or makes them feel a little better about their team.

Part of Money 101 is pretty easy: Don’t get into bills that you can’t pay – don’t write cheques when you don’t have the money in your account. You’d think that’s pretty basic common sense.

When NHL teams are on the road they stay in 4 or 5 star hotels. Not bad to be in $200 to $300 rooms. In Dallas, a number of teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, stay at the Crescent Court. It’s in a very upscale area of Dallas called UpTown, with a discounted rate of US$261 or so.

That was the case for an Edmonton road trip December 16, 2019 with a bill of $28,000. Then again after another away game in Dallas March 3rd of 2020 for another $27,000 hotel bill. The good news was that the Oilers won the game that night (2-1). The bad news was that the team bounced the cheque to pay the December hotel bill.

To make matters worse, the Crescent Court hotel then didn’t get that bounced cheque (or thus the actual bill) paid for 11 more months, and never did get paid for the March bill just before the start of the pandemic and NHL shut-down. I suppose I have to keep saying “allegedly,” even though court filings are accurate, because lawyers can’t lie in court and court documents.

Yes, the hotel finally had enough and sued the Edmonton Oilers in court for the outstanding US$55,000 in November. That’s over a year after the first bill – not good. The matter has now been “settled.” I’m guessing settled should just mean “paid in full.” Plus, add the Oilers to the long list of businesses using the pandemic as an excuse for bad behaviour. “We face the same challenges as any business in the midst of a global pandemic.” That was the statement from the team. FYI: the unpaid bill was November 2019. That was four months before the pandemic.

A company with owner Daryl Katz (living in Vancouver by the way) who is worth $3.5 billion (according to Forbes) shouldn’t have this in the media. They should also have a better accountant, and an overdraft, or a bank that trusts them enough to cover the cheque even if that account is short. There are definitely more questions than answers here.

Conner McDavid is the Oilers captain. So I’d suggest he does the check-out at the hotels on his credit card. He’s responsible and reliable. That way the bill gets paid, and I’m sure the Oilers will reimburse him within days not months. Plus, he makes enough income to get the Amex Black Card with literally unlimited spending to make sure the charges on a long road trip go through. Sure, it’s a $7,500 first year annual fee – but it’d be a win win: He gets massive points and the Oilers get a massive reputational boost.

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