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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15408
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I am a university student in oxford and my university took

Customer Question

Hi! I am a university student in oxford and my university took my tuition money and has not let me into the system for two months now to access any of my work. I am an international student from the USA so it is extremely expensive to move to this part of the world and my whole family and I feel like we have been scammed out of $12,000 by the uni. Is there a legal way to get my money back if they dont reimburse me? The university has not been helpful and are threatening to take my visa away for their screw up. Thanks
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: This is the only person Ive spoken to about this away from the university, I live in Oxford under a tier 4 student visa, and I am american
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have spent the last two months trying to get any access to my university courses, I have re-enrolled twice, and they take it away immediately afterwards. I have spoken to many people at the university trying to get this resolved, and it has ruined my semester at this point where I will not be able to catch up. They appear to be uninterested in helping their international students
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I dont think there is anything else to share at the moment, thanks
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hi! I am hoping to get my tuition money back even if they refuse to reimburse me, since the university has since refused to provide what I was promised in the $12,000 tuition. I am looking to find what options I have now away from the university. Thank you
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the situation. If they do not voluntarily reimburse you, you would need a court order to force them which would mean suing them. You would need access to a UK address in order to do this, or alternately to use a law firm in the UK (I will give you details at the end of this message).
To successfully sue them, you need to show a cause of action for example breach of contract on their part, or breach of your consumer rights. Negligence is another one.

In order to try and resolve the dispute without having to pursue court action, a formal letter before action should be drafted and sent, to demand payment within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them.

See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation. The pre action protocol confirms you should send the letter to give the other party a chance to avoid court action and to pay you. The courts encourage compliance with the protocol as it can result in a resolution without having to involve the court.

You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards (who can be contacted via this site: Contacts).

If you decided to issue a claim, you would then need to register at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site.

Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are generally not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. This means the parties are on an equal footing, so you don’t need to worry about legal costs if you lost.

A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
Here is a user guide for the money claim online site: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1020660/mcol-userguide-eng.pdf

The court will then issue the claim and they will send you "notice of issue". The papers are served on the defendant who then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim - they do this by filling out an acknowledgment of service and they post it to the court. They indicate their intention when they do this, i.e. whether they admit the claim in full or partly, or if they deny the claim. If they want to defend the claim then their defence is due by 28 days from the date the court served them with the papers. The central court processing centre then sends the claim to the defendant's home county court for case management and directions - the directions will give a list of dates which you both must comply with.

If there is no settlement then the claim will be dealt with at a final hearing which takes anything from 9 to 12 months from when you start the claim - longer if the claim is higher value. You can pursue the claim yourself or use a law firm. For the hearing you can use an advocate if you wish, though it's not compulsory. I have details of law firms and advocacy agencies if you would like those. Though in a small claim you won't be able to recover their charges from your opponent. A small claims hearing is easy to do, it's quite informal and no lawyer is required.

Claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are subject to fixed costs only so if you lose then the risk is minimal. Further, the money claim website allows you to sue for an amount up to £100,000.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: EX50 - Civil and Family Court fees) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment.

So for example if you were owed £10,000, interest would be £2.20 per day, which you can also claim.

The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim. If a hearing is required then there is a fee for this too - see page 7 of the previous link for details. Again, that fee is recoverable if you win.

If you are on a low income or have low savings (or in receipt of benefits), you can ask the court for a fee remission so you do not have to pay the court issue fee.

The online site for applying for the fee exemption is here: www.gov.uk/get-help-with-court-fees

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including transfer to the high court for enforcement (very effective), a bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), apply to summons them to court for questioning, all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.

For law firms, any of these could assist, possibly for a low fixed fee - you may prefer to do this in case there is a hearing - assuming the University defend your claim :
1. http://www.garrattssolicitors.co.uk
2. http://www.talbotslaw.co.uk
3. http://www.catalystlaw.co.uk

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

Letter attached and to follow

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

insert their name and address) (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sirs,

Re: Claim for (insert sum)

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute).

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against you for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on (insert date 14 calendar days).

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you Jim, are the three firms that you attached local to oxford or are they just firms recommended by you that will operate online?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

Hi, they are not local to Oxford and geography is not an issue as you would not have to visit them - they all deal with consumer rights claims so any would be fine

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** glad I have an option to help myself out here. I will come back to this chat if I have other questions or if/when I move forward on this in the coming days. I appreciate the help
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 5 days ago.

No problem at all, thanks