TL/DR Bill payee can't find my bank transfer and threatens debt recovery action. What to do?
A family member is studying at a major UK university. Quarterly or so, the university raises tuition bills. Every time, bills are paid full and on time by bank transfer, in line with the University's payment guidelines, yet many times the university claims otherwise and chases us for payments, only to relent eventually that payment was fine in the first place.
Usually, there is a terse to-and-fro "you haven't paid your bill", "yes I have, please see confirmation here, paid on this date, this is the reference etc.", "no you definitely haven't", "yes I have" etc. We checked with our (reputable) bank and confirmed payments are going through. Normally the University eventually relents and drops the dispute without further acknowledgement - the degree has been going on for 2 years, with similar drama around most of the bills paid, suggesting they "find" the money eventually and let my relative continue the studies. Subsequent bills do not show any outstanding amounts.
This time, however, they are threatening debt recovery action (and I restate, on bills already paid!). Although the facts clearly check out in our favour, this would be a major annoyance, as well as perhaps a strike on credit score.
Their helpline is not staffed because Covid, Student support offers moral support but no more. The finance department is just impervious to reason. E-mail after e-mail, they insist the funds have not been received, bill is outstanding etc.
What can be done in this situation? Options that vaguely come to mind:
- Sit tight in comfort that whoever comes after the "debt" will see all is in order. However, this could jeopardise the on-going studies, as well as be a major hassle.
- Escalate within the University - but it is not clear to whom
- Seek help from some external student support, or other finance support organisation
- Threaten some action in response, to motivate the Finance department to get into gear
- Provide some even more concrete evidence of payment, other than bank transfer details - but what?