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Being Wrongfully Charged for a Fee

Discussion in 'Other Debt, Collection, Garnishment' started by utkstudent, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. utkstudent

    utkstudent Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I attend the University of Tennessee and had applied for a leadership camp that was to take place during Spring Break. I am a part of an Ambassador leadership program, (separate from this camp), and they encouraged us to apply if we had not other plans for Spring Break.

    At the time, it was very early in the School year, and I didn't know what my Spring Break plans would be, so I figured applying couldn't hurt. I applied for the program and a couple weeks later received an email telling me that if I had been accepted, and that if I confirmed my attendance and did not show up that I would be charged a $100 no-show fee. It is for this reason that I did not confirm my attendance.

    I had been getting multiple emails from this program about the program prior to the email I described above, and so when I got more emails afterward, I ignored them because I figured that they were more emails about the program, itself.

    Once the school year had ended, I went to check my grades and realized that I couldn't, due to a hold placed on my account in the form of $100, labeled as a "no-show fee" for this program that I have described. I tried emailing the Center for Leadership, (the department within UTK that hosts this program), about why I had this hold on my account, and asking them to please send me a copy of my confirmation, because I was almost positive that I had never confirmed my attendance to this program. I was ignored on multiple occasions, and when I did get replies, they only instructed me to call their office. This only frustrated me more because I just wanted a copy of my confirmation.

    I called once and didn't get an answer, so I left a message and never received a call back. I called again today and got an answer. However, they told me that by not answering the email, I had automatically confirmed my attendance to the program, but the email that they sent me, (that I described above), never said anything about any kind of automatic confirmation.

    The woman on the phone told me that they had sent an email later on, saying that I was confirmed and that they were looking forward to seeing me there, however I hadn't even read it as I was so used to the constant inflow of mail from them. I figured that they still had me on their mailing list by mistake, and that the emails would stop when the program did. The woman on the phone said that if I had replied to the emails saying "I don't know why I'm being sent these, I think there is a mistake", that my confirmation would have been cancelled and I wouldn't owe any money.

    I understand that I should have been checking my emails regularly, but I'm a busy college student, and the month leading up to Spring Break is filled with exams. I'm so used to a constant inflow of mail from UT related programs advertising what they have to offer that I usually just skim through my email and make sure there isn't anything from professors, and that's about it. With that said, I don't understand how they can confirm me into a program, have the College of Arts and Sciences sponsor me, all without my permission.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Pay the $100.

    You're not going to win this.

    Lessons for the future: Be more careful of what you sign up for. Don't ignore emails.
     
    army judge likes this.
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Amen to this....the government beasts can't be stayed, mate!!!
     
  4. utkstudent

    utkstudent Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Just so we're clear, it's completely okay for them to confirm my attendance and charge me money, all without my permission? Even when they told me the circumstances in which I would have to pay money, and I followed them?

    I'm just double checking, because it's not just about the $100. I don't have $100... I'm a college student still working to get a driver's license. I've paid through every ounce of college so far through scholarships and grants. I don't even have a job right now, and because of the hold on my account, I couldn't sign up for summer classes, which has put me back in my academia and caused me to possibly take a 5th year at UT to catch up, and the lack of foresight into whether or not I needed to take summer classes, (due to the hold on my account, making it impossible to see my grades), has made it so that I cannot even book a flight back home to the family I haven't seen since Christmas, because flights are too expensive now.

    I wouldn't be looking for a way to fix this unless it meant something to me... Nowhere in their email did they say that if I didn't confirm my attendance that they would confirm it automatically. Somebody confirmed it on their own and without my permission. I did exactly what they said for me to do and was still punished for it.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Perhaps there were terms and conditions available at the University or on its website that you didn't pay attention to. Did you check?

    At any rate, no it's not right for them to charge you the $100 without your consent if, indeed, that's what happened. Unfortunately, you may have given "constructive" consent.

    "Constructive", in law, is a legal fiction that treats a situation as if were actually so, deduced by inference, not expressed, and having a deemed legal effect.

    Basically, in your case, it might mean that you allowed something to happen by failing to take an appropriate action to prevent it from happening.

    It may also mean that the University provided "constructive" notice about how the fee was to be charged by posting that information elsewhere than in the emails.

    And maybe somebody just made a mistake that nobody's owning up to because they have the leverage of withholding your grades if you don't pay and any remedy you might have will cost you more than $100.

    I don't know what else to tell you.
     

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