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My 15 year old was sent a collections letter for dual credit (college) courses

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We enrolled my teenager into a votech school this year that gets dual credit college credit at our local community college. We were told at the open house that if we didn't pay that night that we would get a bill. The bill never came, and now I have a letter from a collections company named Heartland ECSI to collect the "debt".

 

To be clear though, this letter does not have the information stated that "this letter is to collect a debt" so I state "debt collection" lightly when I refer to them as a collection agency.

 

I don't think that this will insert into his CR in any way, but I am not sure. They keep citing some federal law that makes the debt legally his when enrolled in college, regardless of his age.

 

They are insisting that my 15 year old child on the spectrum send a cease and desist letter. Since it is his "debt" the letter has to come from him.  

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They are not a third-party debt collector...they work directly WITH a number of schools and colleges, including the glorified high schools with transfer of credit to real school issues...the 'bill' you were expecting has arrived.  A quick review of the ECSI website makes it pretty clear...

 

He is attending school and should pay for the class (or someone should pay for it).  Otherwise I hope they hold his transcripts until such time as it DOES get paid...let him then explain to a real school why his transcript cannot be released. 

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I have been told they work with the school, it is still a collection letter according to Heartland, for a bill that I never have gotten from the school itself. Apparently a number of us parents in our local facebook group haven't gotten their bills either. I posted today and a number of parents are complaining about similar issues. Two parents who did and paid still got a collection letter. Obviously they don't have their act together at this point...

 

I would LOVE to pay for the class, had I gotten a bill. It requires a login and the login is included on the bill that they mail out, otherwise it would have been paid today. I'm not trying to get out of paying the bill - I want him to have dual credits, but what is it with the nonsense of trying to hold a 15 year old responsible for debt that *I* agreed to. I was the one who signed all the papers.

 

The school is sending another bill in the mail this week, but that does not take care of the harassment by Heartland to my 15 year old via mail. Why do they think this is okay? My kid can't drive, can't work, can't sign contracts on his own - why would they expect *he* can pay?

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29 minutes ago, shadekitty said:

I have been told they work with the school, it is still a collection letter according to Heartland, for a bill that I never have gotten from the school itself. Apparently a number of us parents in our local facebook group haven't gotten their bills either. I posted today and a number of parents are complaining about similar issues. Two parents who did and paid still got a collection letter. Obviously they don't have their act together at this point...

 

I would LOVE to pay for the class, had I gotten a bill. It requires a login and the login is included on the bill that they mail out, otherwise it would have been paid today. I'm not trying to get out of paying the bill - I want him to have dual credits, but what is it with the nonsense of trying to hold a 15 year old responsible for debt that *I* agreed to. I was the one who signed all the papers.

 

The school is sending another bill in the mail this week, but that does not take care of the harassment by Heartland to my 15 year old via mail. Why do they think this is okay? My kid can't drive, can't work, can't sign contracts on his own - why would they expect *he* can pay?

The WHY is easy...the reality is that the number of college students who are NOT at least 18 years of age would be a fraction of a fraction of a percent. 

 

Did you provide them with guardianship papers?  If not, then they have even LESS reason not to have billed a student enrolled in a college class. 

 

A single statement is NOT harassment.  I can only hope that you are not trying to tell him that the bubble-wrap generation now views a single piece of mail as 'harassment.'

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You obviously don't feel the same way that I do about a child who didn't enter into an agreement getting contacted to pay for something he didn't enter into agreement over. Why couldn't the letter have been addressed to me? 

 

I get the bills for his medical and insurance claims, why wouldn't I get his bills for college until 18? I signed all his papers at the school. How can they legally bill him when he signed nothing?

 

What gives them the legal right to collect from a minor? That's what I'm wondering - the collection company did not explain it, but kept referring to a federal law that I know nothing about. Nothing I signed stated that he would be the POC for future monetary transactions. I agreed to all of that, yet they are contacting him... I'm trying to find out why. 

 

My 15 year old is obviously not equipped to pay these bills or deal with them yet, why they are being sent to him instead of me is what I'm wondering... and how do I deal with it now that it has gone to collections... the school said it won't go away once paid.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, shadekitty said:

You obviously don't feel the same way that I do about a child who didn't enter into an agreement getting contacted to pay for something he didn't enter into agreement over. Why couldn't the letter have been addressed to me? 

 

I get the bills for his medical and insurance claims, why wouldn't I get his bills for college until 18? I signed all his papers at the school. How can they legally bill him when he signed nothing?

 

What gives them the legal right to collect from a minor? That's what I'm wondering - the collection company did not explain it, but kept referring to a federal law that I know nothing about. Nothing I signed stated that he would be the POC for future monetary transactions. I agreed to all of that, yet they are contacting him... I'm trying to find out why. 

 

My 15 year old is obviously not equipped to pay these bills or deal with them yet, why they are being sent to him instead of me is what I'm wondering... and how do I deal with it now that it has gone to collections... the school said it won't go away once paid.

 

 

I think you are being overly sensitive to the matter. Until they report to his credit report, or attempt other collection activity (legal action, harassing phone calls etc.) I would view it more so as a reminder to make contact with the school to pay the bill and ensure they have the correct info on file for billing etc. If the school said "it won't go away once paid", I would be looking at other schools that have a better billing system and is more organized.  It certainly seems like there's a process error, or a communication issue between the three parties (parent/student, school, and collection agency). 

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The first thing that NEEDS to be done is to disabuse oneself of the notion that this is a 'collection.'

 

A notice was generated by the entity that the school uses for their billing.  This is no different than doctors that do the same thing for their office billing.  Outsourcing does NOT mean collection.  And given that it was KNOWN that an amount was due and owing, the simple and easy thing to do is PAY for the tuition related to the class that the student is attending.  

 

Further, NOTHING has been offered that suggests the billing personnel, no matter whether it was someone with boots on the ground AT the school or working from a terminal that batch processes, would have been aware they were sending a notice out to a minor (amongst the other hundreds or thousands of similar notices mailed on the same date).  Kid is a student enrolled at a university/college/school where the student body is typically comprised of ADULTS.  Notices go out to students.  This is a thing. 

 

There is so much ado about nothing being made here that one needs a scorecard, although the Russian judge would probably only rate the histrionics at an 8.6

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If this letter is the worst thing that has happened to your child this year, be thankful. 

 

This is a great opportunity to teach your soon-to-be adult how things work in the real world rather than try to shield them and leave them unprepared for real life. 

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4 hours ago, centex said:

The first thing that NEEDS to be done is to disabuse oneself of the notion that this is a 'collection.'

 

A notice was generated by the entity that the school uses for their billing.  This is no different than doctors that do the same thing for their office billing.  Outsourcing does NOT mean collection.  And given that it was KNOWN that an amount was due and owing, the simple and easy thing to do is PAY for the tuition related to the class that the student is attending.  

 

Further, NOTHING has been offered that suggests the billing personnel, no matter whether it was someone with boots on the ground AT the school or working from a terminal that batch processes, would have been aware they were sending a notice out to a minor (amongst the other hundreds or thousands of similar notices mailed on the same date).  Kid is a student enrolled at a university/college/school where the student body is typically comprised of ADULTS.  Notices go out to students.  This is a thing. 

 

There is so much ado about nothing being made here that one needs a scorecard, although the Russian judge would probably only rate the histrionics at an 8.6

Contacted the school.. this is not outsourced billing. The school does their own billing - this is their "collections" company they partnered with to collect since the debt was not paid (since I didn't get the bill). I did go up there today and pay it, and was told that the collection would stand as is and no one at the school could confirm or deny that this would affect his credit report at 15. The collections company won't talk to me since they want to talk to my 15 year old. 

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4 hours ago, shifter said:

If this letter is the worst thing that has happened to your child this year, be thankful. 

 

This is a great opportunity to teach your soon-to-be adult how things work in the real world rather than try to shield them and leave them unprepared for real life. 

And I do try to use these opportunities as a learning lesson, but when you have kids on the spectrum it doesn't work the same way.. I wish it did.  I'm just not understanding why any of this was explained to me so that I understood they were treating my 15 year old as an adult when I was the one who signed all the paperwork. I assumed I was taking on the financial responsibility here...  apparently that isn't the case.

 

When I went to college at 16, I couldn't even sign for anything on my own. I had to have my parents retain financial responsibility for me. They wouldn't let me register even when I was paying in cash.... so this is all new for me 20+ years later..

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