School charging for class I did not take

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Jan 3, 2019
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#1
I tried to enroll to an online course at Asbury Theological Seminary but the process was so complicated and I decided not to take the class, they automatically enrolled me without sending me any notice of it, they said they tried to reach me for two years with my previous job's mailbox address but of course I just thought it was some advertisement... now they moved my case to a debt collectors and I was fighting the case myself asking for proof of enrollment that I physically put it in myself with the IP address and what not but they just forwarded some emails that I was enrolled in the class and my preadvisor no longer even works there, I read over their policies and there is no verbiage that I was going to be charged, they said they reached out to me but I remember clearly stating I decided not to attend when they called, and I am really frustrated because I told them I will not be paying $2000 for a class I did not even take... the school keeps on telling me to take care of with the debt collector but the debt collector only replied back to me once, and they just keep on sending printed emails of MY transaction with the school, I feel like no one is really doing any work and they are just pushing the fact that I was enrolled but I never even took the class...

longer story:


I was a seminary student 4 years ago at Biola University (Talbot) studying Christian Education.
I decided to be a pastor after graduating from UCI and have been a pastor for 6 years.

Two classes before my graduation date I received a full time offer as a woman pastor in San Jose
because this was a very rare situation I took the offer and decided to start paying off my loans and graduate online

But the school wasn't so helpful in letting me complete my two classes online
so i had to look for other options to fulfill it,
I contacted Asbury Seminary and there was one class that could fulfill it
but due to my living situation I decided not to take the course,

I would receive some mail from work with Asbury on it
but because I assumed they were advertisements I just threw them away

They contacted me through a debt agency one month ago to collect $2000
so I have been fighting this case, and they just show me screenshots that I had enrolled
but when I called the registrar they said sometimes they just automatically enroll students..

at Biola, if you do not respond to the professor in the 1st week of classes starting
you are automatically dropped from the class.

This was very absurd to me and I have been emailing them to reason with them
but all they say is I have to talk to the debt collector, that this case is our of their hands

I tried to get the contact information of the finance president of the school
but they are very private to give out additional information

I kept on asking for verbiage of what can a student do when they never even took the class?
and I am constantly just being ignored,

The last thing the debt collector did was just print out all my email interactions with the school
and sent it to me to say that on behalf of my dispute, the school still confirmed that
I need to pay.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
I think you need an attorney for this one. If you signed up online you had to agree to their terms and conditions - what did you get via email after you signed up?

You said you enrolled- once you did that you owe them money, whether you decided to take the class or not.

You are going to need an attorney who is going to have to go over all the paperwork you agreed to when you signed up to determine if you owe money or not.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
Oh what a mess. This "school" sounds quite predatory. I'd write them a letter denying that you enrolled, stating that you didn't attend the class, and are not responsible for paying for it. Make it concise and polite. Send the same letter to the collection service. Leave out all the extraneous details, just state the facts: your looked at the class but decided not to take it. Every time you're contacted, send them the letter again. Hopefully they'll get tired and go away. If not, you'll need an attorney as my colleagues have pointed out. I'm so sorry this has happened to you and hope that it gets settled soon so you can move on to your real job without distractions.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Did you formally drop the class and withdraw? Every school has a different procedure for withdrawing.

It does not help your case that you threw out the letter they wrote without looking at them.

You may need an attorney.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Feb 23, 2018
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#5
For most schools, once you enroll you must adhere to the school's policy to drop the course. Not attending class does not automatically drop you from the course and there is normally only a short a period after the class starts to drop without a fee.
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#6
It appears that the school wrote off the money you owed them as a "bad debt" and sold it to a collection agency. This is the reason the school will not communicate with you regarding this matter; it's no longer their debt and not their problem. You need to review the terms and conditions you agreed to when you signed up for the course. As stated by my fellow forum members, every school has policies about the correct procedures to withdraw from a course and any corresponding financial responsibilities that go with it. I suspect that the correspondence you received in the mail from the school was not advertising, rather, some sort of statement of account.
 
Likes: ADM

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#7
OP needs to write to the collection agency and ask for all proof of application and admission be sent to OP.
If they don’t have all of the pertinent information, complete application with signatures they will have a hard time collecting this debt.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
OP needs to write to the collection agency and ask for all proof of application and admission be sent to OP.
If they don’t have all of the pertinent information, complete application with signatures they will have a hard time collecting this debt.
The OP says that proof of enrollment was sent by the collection agency. The OP just stopped attending the online course.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,456
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San Francisco
#9
For most schools, once you enroll you must adhere to the school's policy to drop the course. Not attending class does not automatically drop you from the course and there is normally only a short a period after the class starts to drop without a fee.
I'm reading that the process was so complicated she never signed up for the class. If that's not true and she did enroll, it's a different situation. If she didn't follow the school's process to drop the class, she does owe the money.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,456
7,246
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San Francisco
#10
OP needs to write to the collection agency and ask for all proof of application and admission be sent to OP.
If they don’t have all of the pertinent information, complete application with signatures they will have a hard time collecting this debt.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#11
The OP says that proof of enrollment was sent by the collection agency. The OP just stopped attending the online course.
OP said/in original post

—and they just show me screenshots that I had enrolled
but when I called the registrar they said sometimes they just automatically enroll students.
and

The last thing the debt collector did was just print out all my email interactions with the school
and sent it to me to say that on behalf of my dispute, the school still confirmed that
I need to pay.

Neither of those constitute a contract.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,230
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www.promalvacations.com
#12
We also don’t know of the OPs statements are true. I can’t believe that the school didn’t send some type of confirmation that she enrolled. Some of her information is contradictory.

It might be just me but I find it hard to believe a school would “automatically” enroll someone. But I’ve been wrong before.

She really needs an attorney.
 
Likes: SierraRose49
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
OP said/in original post

—and they just show me screenshots that I had enrolled
but when I called the registrar they said sometimes they just automatically enroll students.
and

The last thing the debt collector did was just print out all my email interactions with the school
and sent it to me to say that on behalf of my dispute, the school still confirmed that
I need to pay.

Neither of those constitute a contract.
This is an online course. The OP admits to having a preadvisor. The idea a school registrar said they randomly enroll people just is not credible.

How does one enroll or make a contract online— clicking those I accept boxes.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#14
None of our opinions make any difference.
Bottom Line: The collection agency needs to prove that a debt is owed.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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#17
The OP said: "I would receive some mail from work with Asbury on it but because I assumed they were advertisements I just threw them away."
The mail the OP received but threw away MAY have been confirmations of her enrollment with details on how to drop classes. Since she threw them away, she has NO proof of what the contents of those mailings said or contained. There are holes in this story. She may have to pay the price because she ASSUMED the mailings were advertisements. She may need the services of a lawyer, which may be available through a pastoral organization or Legal Aid.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
Perhaps contacting an attorney that specializes in debt may be the best thing to do; some offer a free initial consultation and there may be some low cost services available.

Contacting the school does not sound like a productive use of time. It sounds as if they sold the debt which means the debt collector gets to keep all amounts owed.

Debt collectors can be aggressive, unethical and illegal and given the amount it may be worthwhile to get legal help.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#19
This all sounds shady to me. I've done online courses and regular college courses, as well as my three children. And you always get a notice that says if you do not pay by X date you will be automatically dropped from all of your classes for non payment. In this case they say that the OP enrolled and they apparently are implying that she actually attended without paying I don't see how that could happen.
 
Likes: Pixie Pie
Jun 30, 2017
990
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Maui Hawaii
#20
This all sounds shady to me. I've done online courses and regular college courses, as well as my three children. And you always get a notice that says if you do not pay by X date you will be automatically dropped from all of your classes for non payment. In this case they say that the OP enrolled and they apparently are implying that she actually attended without paying I don't see how that could happen.
OP "I would receive some mail from work with Asbury on it but because I assumed they were advertisements I just threw them away "
She likely got many notices which she threw away.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
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