In order to charge the drawer, presentment for acceptance to the drawee is necessary (except where excused by circumstances) in the following cases:
"First: Where the bill is payable after sight, or in any other case where presentment for acceptance is necessary in order to fix the maturity of the instrument; or
"Second: Where the bill expressly stipulates that it shall be presented for acceptance;
"Third: Where the bill is drawn elsewhere than at the residence or place of business of the drawee."
In these cases, the presentment of a bill of exchange for acceptance is necessary to charge the drawer and indorsers. In other cases presentment for payment at maturity is sufficient.
Where presentment for acceptance is not required it may nevertheless be made, for two purposes:
First: To obtain as soon as possible the liability of the drawee, as an acceptor; and, second: To give, in case of nonacceptance, a right of immediate recourse against the drawer and the indorsers.
In order to charge parties secondarily liable presentment of a bill for acceptance must be made, (1) by or on behalf of the holder; (2) within a reasonable time (or negotiated within a reasonable time) on a business day before the instrument is overdue; (3) at a reasonable hour; and (4) to the drawee, his agent in that behalf, or his personal representative.
146. Nego. Instru. Act, Article III.
(1) Party who must make presentment for acceptance.
This must be the holder of some one who acts in his behalf. The holder might be the original payee or a transferee of such payee.
(2) Date of presentment for acceptance.
There is no exact date on which presentment for acceptance must be made, but it must be made before the instrument is overdue on a business day. It may be presented for acceptance on any day on which an instrument may be presented for payment, as above stated. When Saturday is not a holiday it may be presented before 12 noon on such day. This day must fall within a reasonable time from the time the instrument is delivered to the payee, or within a reasonable time from the last transfer. For one who holds an instrument which requires acceptance, must present it for acceptance or negotiate it within a reasonable time. So it might be negotiated a number of times before it was finally presented for acceptance and if such succeeding negotiation was made within a reasonable time since the former negotiation and the presentment for acceptance made within a reasonable time after the last negotiation and before maturity, there would be no discharge of the drawer or prior indorsers.
(3) Hour of presentment for acceptance.
A bill of exchange may be presented at any hour at which a bill might be presented for payment, as above stated.
(4) To whom presented for acceptance.
It must be presented for acceptance to the drawee personally, or to an agent who has authority to accept or reject. If several drawees, acceptance must be made to all, except where one or more are agent for the others in that behalf or are partners. If the drawee is dead presentment may be made to his personal representative; if he is a bankrupt or has made an assignment presentment may be made either to him, or his trustee or assignee.
In the cases in which ordinarily presentment for acceptance must be made, it is excused in certain cases, and in those cases the bill may be treated as dishonored for non-acceptance.
(1) "Where drawee is dead, or has absconded, or is a fictitious person, or is a person not having capacity to contract by bill;
(2) "Where after the exercise of reasonable diligence, presentment cannot be made;
(3) "Where though presentment has been irregular, acceptance has been refused on some other ground."147
If a bill is presented for acceptance within the time and in the manner stated, and is not accepted, or if presentment is excused, the bill may be treated as dishonored by non-acceptance and an immediate right of recourse accrues against the drawer and indorsers.
Where the bill is dishonored by nonacceptance, an immediate right of recourse accrues against prior parties.
147. Id. SEC. 48.
This is true not only in cases where presentment for acceptance is required in order to fix the liability of the prior parties, but also in any case where actual presentment has been made and acceptance refused. Thus suppose that on January 2, 1910, A draws a bill on B, to order of C, due in three months. On the same day the bill is delivered to C, and he indorses to D. D on January 3rd applies to B for acceptance. B refuses to accept. D may proceed at once against A and C if he has duly notified them, and need not wait until the three months have expired.