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A question for the legal types amongst you.

shockedsoshockedshockedsoshocked Posts: 4,021
edited August 2007 in Campaign

I don't often post in soapbox, but I could do with some advice for the people involved in the legal/financial side of things.

At the end of September last year I went to Hull University to study 20th Century History. After roughly 8 weeks I realised I wasn't enjoying myself at all and decided to cut my losses and come home. I went through all the proper processes of withdrawing my application and cancelling my student loan.

Recently however, I've had a letter from the University saying I owe £1500 in tuition fees. This contradicts a letter I recieved dated the the 27th of November 2006 after withdrawing myself from the course that I owe £0 in Tuition fees, and it also contradicts what I was told by both my tutor and the staff in the History Department, who claimed if I withdrew before December I would not have to pay tuition fees.

After ringing them and querying this, I was told the information I recieved from my tutor and the History department was incorrect, and that if I didn't pay the debt would be forwarded on to a 3rd party, who would apparently send the baillifs round. Like I said however, I have a letter categorically stating I owe £0 dated a good 7 months before this new letter.

Does anyone have any idea what I can do? I'm pretty much prepared to disupute the payment, the only problem being I don't fancy recieving a CCJ as I believe it may affect my chances of joining the Armed Forces like I intend to do.

Any help much appreciated.
"A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

PTP Runner Up 2015


  • vitesse169vitesse169 Posts: 422
    If you have it in writing that should you withdraw from the course before Dec, no fees are payable, then I would suggest you contest the new letter & visit the CAB for access to legal advice. If it is just word of mouth from a tutor - that will be harder to fight against the 'system' with. Seek legal advice in any case...
  • RegulatorRegulator Posts: 417
    Send a copy of the letter of 27 November 2006 to the sender of the recent letter and ask them to explain. Put into your covering letter that, should they pass the supposed debt to a 3rd party prior to explaining the apparent change in their decisions, then you will consider this defamation and take appropriate legal action.

    If you were told in writing in November 2006 by the University administration that no fees were payable, they will find it difficult to defend any decision to charge fees now. It is unlikely that a a court would issue a judgement if you are able to provide evidence in writing that you owed the University no money. If it judged you did owe money the court is more likely to send you away with instructions to reach a voluntary agreement with the University.

    Copy your letter, and the correspondence you are responding to and the the letter of 27 November 2006, to your local MP. This sounds like the University cocked up and are trying to bully you. As long as you still have the letter of the 27 November 2006, stand up to them.
    censored elephants - capabari are cuter!
  • nickcuknickcuk Posts: 275
    Maybe go back and sign up for a degree in law ?
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Get legal help asap & keep copies of all correspondence. Keep a diary/log of all telephone conversations but try to correspond by E-mail. If you have an meeting take a (respectable) witness. Get your witness to take notes or even better record the meeting - with their permission.

    It does sound as if they've told you the wrong thing or there has been a misunderstanding on your part, I feel that it 'may' come down to this argument. The written evidence you mention would suggest the former. It's worth disputing & threatening legal action at the very least.

    Of course it depends if your tutor said before Christmas for 'no fees' or for 'reduced fees' (i.e. not for the whole year, about 3K I believe)

    Usually you would have to pay some fees but not for the whole year after pulling out. £1500 does actually sound about right since from late Sept - New Year represents about 40-50% of teaching time for the academic year.

    Anyway, good luck

    PS Be as 'professional' and as accurate as possible, wear a suit and go in with some legal knowledge & your solicitors details to hand. It all helps.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • redrobboredrobbo Posts: 727
    Pay up, join the armed services, put Hull to fire and the sword. No-one will notice.
  • NFMCNFMC Posts: 232
    Agree with much of the above...write to them with a copy of the letter and the quotes from your tutor and also the quotes saying that your tutor was incorrect (which suggests they accept that he said it which actually helps you greatly).

    If they do 'sell the debt on' to the third party, do not deal with them at all. They are rarely the most professional of outfits and will write to you saying that they will send the bailiffs round and that you may lose your house and that the debt will increase and increase and increase. All of this i wrong and designed to intimidate you. If they do write to you, reply to each and every letter saying that you will only deal with the University directly.

    The fact is that no bailiffs can visit and no debts can be increased until someone issues a 'small claim' against you in the county court. If you do have it in writing that you owe £0.00 then such a claim wouldn't succeed. If you defend yourself and win then you will not have a CCJ issued against you.

    Having said all that, there are always two sides to the story so I strongly suggest that you take all your paperwork either to a solicitor or to the CAB and let them give you an independent and informed opinion.
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