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jj_mia

College withholding transcripts due to phone bill debt

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Hello - I graduated from college in 2004 from a private institution.  My college is withholding my transcripts because there is a phone service bill overdue on my account.  Since this debt is not related to academic fees, what possibility do I have to get this waived/removed?  I've asked the school to provide me with back up documentation for the debt, and they haven't replied to my email.  

 

Any help/guidance is much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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10 hours ago, jj_mia said:

Since this debt is not related to academic fees, what possibility do I have to get this waived/removed?

 

Probably zero, but it obviously depends on the terms of the agreement(s) you made with the college and the state where it is located.  How much is the bill?

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Hi @jj_mia

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! That sounds like a really frustrating situation. It does not sound unreasonable that you expect to be provided with documentation of the outstanding balance. You may also want to ask to see the written policy which authorizes the school to withhold transcripts when there is an outstanding balance of any kind (academic or otherwise).

 

Whether or not you want to fight this will probably depend on the amount of the unpaid balance. Certainly continuing the fight will take up more of your time, and you may also want to consider conferring with an education attorney. As other posters have stated, if the amount of the balance owed is less than the retainer for an attorney, you may want to consider paying simply to be done with the process.

 

Best of luck and keep us posted!

The FindLaw.com Team

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This is not unusual at all. Typically diplomas are withheld for unpaid balances as well. Getting details from 12 years ago is going to be tough. You might want to pull your credit report as by now, it is likely that the charge was turned over to a collection agency.

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Thanks everyone for your response.  The amount is about $3,600, quite a bit.   I'm assuming they must be required to provide documentation if they are asking me to pay a debt.  My understanding is that all debt holders have to provide documentation - such as with credit cards or mortgages.  

 

Also, this bill has never appeared on my credit report.  

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1 hour ago, jj_mia said:

I'm assuming they must be required to provide documentation if they are asking me to pay a debt.  My understanding is that all debt holders have to provide documentation - such as with credit cards or mortgages.

 

That would be correct - if you were in court.

 

Since you're not in court and aren't likely to ever be in court one way or the other, the school is basically selling you your transcript for $3600 and they aren't obliged to prove anything to you.

 

I call it the "wants" vs. the "haves."

 

If you want something from somebody who has it and you want it bad enough and there is no law or contract compelling them to give it to you then you pay their price.

 

1 hour ago, jj_mia said:

 

Also, this bill has never appeared on my credit report.  

 

Likely because schools don't have reporting contracts with credit bureaus and don't need to spend money on collection agencies or lawsuits when graduates eventually come back looking for a transcript.

 

 

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13 hours ago, jj_mia said:

I'm assuming they must be required to provide documentation if they are asking me to pay a debt.

 

Not really.  If the college sued you, it would be required to prove its case, but it's too late to sue you.  The situation you're in now is that you want something from the college.  The college is willing to provide that to you in exchange for:  (1) paying the customary transcript fee (presumably); and (2) paying the phone bill.  In that situation, the college is not obligated to provide any documentation.

 

 

13 hours ago, jj_mia said:

My understanding is that all debt holders have to provide documentation - such as with credit cards or mortgages.

 

Depends on the circumstances.  Context is everything.

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