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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    3

    Default Educational Debt Collections for Tuition From When I Was a Minor

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: GA

    I have Williams and Fudge on my tail telling me I owe Cadek Conservatory (a University music conservatory in Tennessee) $645. I attended this school when I was 15-16. My mother signed me up with the school's tuition payment plan. She apparently stopped paying in January of 2002. I received this notice a few months back. They told me that regardless of the statute of limitations, it is educational debt and because my social and record of being there are on file, they will take me to court and issue a garnishment.

    I find it hard to believe that a debt can be enforced on someone who was 15 at the time I registered with the school. If that is possible, you are telling me that a minor can walk into a school and say sign me up, here is my social security number and that's alright? Would the parent not be responsible for the debt? Furthermore, the last activity on this account was over 6 years ago (the statute of limitations in TN is 6 years on a written contract). Williams and Fudge explained that this is educational debt and therefore, no statute of limitations exist. I did a little research and I found that educational debt is whatever is federally funded. I registered with the school, they said the tutition was x amount and my mother arranged a payment plan. I did not apply for a loan. It was simply a fee that needed to be paid and she couldn't do it at the time. As unfortunate as it is that they did not get paid, why should I be responsible? Why wait 6 years to collect? With all due respect, I would pay it if I had it, but you of all people should know, this debt collector is beyond reason. Although it is not his job to explain it to me, I simply can't understand how a minor at the time would be responsible for this.

    Is this possible? Are they just trying to scare me? Is my mother not responsible for this since I was a minor at the time and did not know my social was going on record? Consent? What can I do? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southeastern Michigan
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    1,226

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    At 15-16 year of age, you cannot enter into a legal contract. This is something that your mother signed and agreed to, not you. You simply attended school there.

    Personally, I feel that this is a scare tactic & they have no legal grounds to bring suit against you for the debt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    I hate going through this every few days. Minors can enter into valid contracts on most subjects; of those contracts, most of them are voidable during minority, meaning that the minor can seek to get out of the contract but generally has to restore the other party to the condition he would have been in had the contract never been entered. Depending on state law, when the minor reaches the age of majority or shortly thereafter, if no action has been taken to void a contract it becomes binding.

    But that doesn't appear at all relevant here, as it appears that the only contract entered was between your mother and the school. You could ask your mother to take care of her delinquent debt. If they do take you to court, you can raise the defense that you're not a party to the contract (just a "third party beneficiary").

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    3

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    Quote Quoting aaron
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    I hate going through this every few days. Minors can enter into valid contracts on most subjects; of those contracts, most of them are voidable during minority, meaning that the minor can seek to get out of the contract but generally has to restore the other party to the condition he would have been in had the contract never been entered. Depending on state law, when the minor reaches the age of majority or shortly thereafter, if no action has been taken to void a contract it becomes binding.

    But that doesn't appear at all relevant here, as it appears that the only contract entered was between your mother and the school. You could ask your mother to take care of her delinquent debt. If they do take you to court, you can raise the defense that you're not a party to the contract (just a "third party beneficiary").

    But if indeed it is a contract, is the statute of limitations not up on this? The collector was saying that this was educational debt and therefore, no sol exists.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southeastern Michigan
    Posts
    1,226

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    Quote Quoting aaron
    View Post
    I hate going through this every few days. Minors can enter into valid contracts on most subjects; of those contracts, most of them are voidable during minority, meaning that the minor can seek to get out of the contract but generally has to restore the other party to the condition he would have been in had the contract never been entered.
    My apologies. I'll take the "D-" and do better in the future

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    Quote Quoting jdunn7
    View Post
    But if indeed it is a contract, is the statute of limitations not up on this? The collector was saying that this was educational debt and therefore, no sol exists.
    Whether or not a statute of limitations might apply depends upon the nature of the debt. But that's peripheral to the question of whether or not it's your debt.

    When you asked your mother about this debt, and whether she would take care of it to get this collection agency off of your back, did she refuse?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    Quote Quoting aaron
    View Post
    Whether or not a statute of limitations might apply depends upon the nature of the debt. But that's peripheral to the question of whether or not it's your debt.

    When you asked your mother about this debt, and whether she would take care of it to get this collection agency off of your back, did she refuse?
    She nor I have the means to pay it. The collector said that ultimately it was my responsibility since my social is on file. Can a judge issue a garnishment without me knowing about it until my employer notifies me? The nature of the debt is "educational" but I never applied for a loan and it's not federally funded. It's been over 6 years since any activity was made to the balance of the loan. What other information do you need to determine the nature of the debt with regard to the SOL?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Educational Debt? Collections Scare?

    Instruct them to stop contacting you. If they sue you, raise as one of your defenses the fact that they have no contract with you.

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