The inevitable burden that student loans can put on college students’ mind, as well as their credit rating, is seen as a necessary evil; it is part of the protocol that involves acquiring a collegiate degree. When it comes to the pesky collections calls and emails bombarding them about paying back student loans, that’s to be expected.
College kids haven’t been safe from collection agencies for a long time, and it would be a safe bet that students and parents wouldn’t have to worry about the financial toll school can take at least until college. In one Rhode Island School District, however, students and parents alike found out firsthand that college students aren’t the only ones getting solicited for outstanding debts. The families of elementary students are being solicited for outstanding debts as well.
Collections Calls Over Lunch Money
The Cranston School District had a significant issue: there was over $45,000 in outstanding debt in the form of unpaid school lunches. Students’ families had racked up balances for school lunches and were simply never paying them off.
Before initiating the calls for collections, which were outsourced to a collections agency named Transworld Systems Inc., the director of the Cranston School board sent a written notification via mail to all of the parents who owed an outstanding balance. While it was emphasized that there would be no interruption in meals served to the students who couldn’t afford lunches, there would still be an attempt to collect the balances that are owed.
Between the 2016 and 2018 school years, the Cranston School District had to pay off nearly $100,000 in accumulated school lunch debt. Citing a desire to stave off continued losses in revenue for the district, Raymond Votto Jr., chief operating officer for the Cranston School District cites the recent collection measures as the district’s firm stand that the schools’ lunch program “can no longer continue to lose money.”
While many of the outstanding balances are under $20, only families with balances exceeding $20 will be solicited for paying off their outstanding balances
Understanding Collections Laws
Whether it’s collecting outstanding debt owed on school lunch money or some other financial obligation, collection agents have to follow stringent regulations. The landmark consumer protection law is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as the TCPA. The TCPA is in place not only to protect consumers but also to ensure that collections agencies are following the best practices.
The TCPA protects against the following telemarketing tactics:
- Spam text messages
- Calling consumers listed on the “Do Not Call List”
Should Transworld use any of the aforementioned tactics, parents who are late on their school lunch balances may be entitled to compensation.
Have You Received Harassing Collections Calls?
If you’ve received harassing phone calls from collections agents, you may be entitled to compensation. Under the TCPA, victims of TCPA violations may receive upwards of $1,000.
Make the harassing the calls stop and get the representation you deserve. The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi have represented countless victims of TCPA violations. Let us fight on your behalf. Call us at 1-844-542-7235 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation