Consumer protection laws exist to safeguard consumers and the public from predatory or unfair business practices. Recognizing that consumers are often at a disadvantage when dealing with corporations and institutions, lawyers hope these laws will help level the playing field by restricting what companies can do with their customers. New York recently added another consumer protection law specifically designed to help students. Governor Hochul signed the new bill, S.5924-C/A.6938-B, into law in May of this year. With its passage, the law will take away a popular but unfair tactic some colleges use to collect tuition. Please keep reading, as our consumer protection lawyer explains.
Colleges Cannot Hold Transcripts from Indebted Students
If you have college credits or a college degree, your transcript is your ticket to educational and career advancement. If you plan to enroll in a different institution, that new institution will want to evaluate your current transcripts. Similarly, employers often want to see your transcripts when they are considering you for employment.
Knowing how vital transcripts are to students, some colleges and universities would withhold transcripts from students who owe a debt to the school. Some institutions would not release your transcripts until you paid the delinquent debt in full. Others would charge you a premium to fulfill a transcript request.
With the passage of S.5924-C/A.6938-B, colleges and universities cannot engage in either practice. They also cannot require you to pay your outstanding debt as a condition of fulfilling your transcript request.
Enforcement of the New Law
The boards of both the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) had voluntarily decided to end this practice. Neither school requires indebted students to pay their outstanding bills before receiving a copy of their transcript.
Institutions that have not and do not cease this practice can face penalties. The law allows for a $500 penalty per violation.
The Superintendent of Financial Services imposes this penalty after providing the offending school with a hearing. When there is evidence a school is violating the law, the Superintendent holds a hearing and allows the school to respond before imposing the penalty.
In addition to the penalty imposed by the Superintendent for Financial Services, you can file a lawsuit against the school with or without help from a New York consumer protection lawyer. The purpose of such a lawsuit would be to compel the school to provide your transcript per the law. You may recover the reasonable fees your consumer protection lawyer incurs as well.
Dedicated Consumer Protection Lawyer Available to Protect Your Rights
If you feel your school is unlawfully withholding your transcripts over an unpaid debt, you do not need to fight the institution alone. Reach out and speak with a consumer protection lawyer at the Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC.
We have years of experience fighting on the side of consumers who are being taken advantage of by businesses and institutions. We will fight diligently to get you the relief and protection the law provides to you.
Book your free consultation with us by contacting our offices today.