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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22697
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I was informed in Nov 2016 by my sons ECE centre that I owed

Customer Question

I was informed in Nov 2016 by my sons ECE centre that I owed $4000.00 in unpaid fees. I had received no prior communication from the centre informing me that I was in arrea's until Nov 2016. I wish to challenge this, as I was assured by the administrator on two occasions that everything was in place and my sons fees were being paid. I would also challenge the length of time it took them to inform me about these unpaid fees. Where do I stand legally?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Can you check this dates? I think you meant 2015. Have you signed any contract about fees? Was someone else meant to be contributing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry Chris yes it was Nov 2015. In regards ***** ***** about fees it was all included in the enrollment form. WINZ were suppose to be making a contribution. The centre told me in July to send in forms to WINZ which I did and I followed it up by always ringing the centre to see if they had received confirmation from WINZ. Administrator kept telling me to keep sending in forms and my sons fees would be taken care of. I did this on all the occasions she told me to. It was in Nov she got back to me and told me I owed the amount of $4000.00 as they got no reply from WINZ's.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

You will need to find out from WINZ what has happened to the forms and their contribution. But there certainly is an arguments, that if you thoight WINZ would pay, and the centre assured you that they would but failed to keep you advised that WINZ had not paid, that you changed your position relying on what they said.this is sometimes called estoppel and would be a defence to their claim. If you knew much earlier that WINZ had not paid, or would not pay, then you would have made arrangements. But the failure to do so can be used as a defence

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry again Chris I am having computer problems and hope to have it up and running this arvo I am using my work phone so I need to be brief I will check with WINZ and get back this afternoon hopefully
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

No problem, I check in regularly

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I am so sorry it has taken so long to reply.(Computer still out) I spoke to WINZ and they told me they did receive my form and said the person who takes care of the forms would have told the centre that it got declined. The person I spoke to wasn't sure what date the centre was told as it was dealt with by the person who deals with the forms at WINZ.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

If the ECE knew the subsidy was declined but didn't tell you, and even suggested the fees were being paid, then they may not be able to collect the fees now. You have changed your position acting in reliance on what they said, and this can be a defence to the claim. So if they start to get insistent, tell them you will take this to the Disputes Tribunal and use this defence.

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