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If I signed a contract to with my school and on the contract…

If I signed a...

If I signed a contract to with my school and on the contract it states "The School no longer assesses students overtime or absent hour charges." and was initialed and signed by me and signed by the school owner can the school decided in the middle of me attending school to change the policy and charge for $25 for and missed days?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because education law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Georgia

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

They tried getting us to sign a paper accepting the change and allowing the them to charge but also put on the paper that our signature was not required for them to charge us. I did not sign the paper because I feel that is not legal. They say it is legal because she state in the contract they can change policy or procedure but it doesn't say they can change my financial obligation. Nothing has been filed with the court or any attorney yet I am just not starting to investigate my options. I don't see how that is legal

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I am go to The International School of Skin Nailcare and Massage Therapy. Thanks

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
9/19/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18,161
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, it's "legal" to do so, in that it's not illegal. There's no law that says that they can't do it, and there's no agency or governmental entity that is going to fine them or jail them for doing so. But it may or may not be actionable. It's a civil court matter, pertaining to the enforceability of a contract, so the question is whether or not it's enforceable.

If there's a provision in there that says that they can change policy and/or procedure, but is not specific about that, and more importantly is not in the same section or referencing the late fees, then it's at best ambiguous. The section about not charging late fees is specific. Specific will control over ambiguous. And ambiguous statements will generally be interpreted against the party that drafted the contract. So assuming that there would not be any other provisions in the contract that might change this, and again assuming that the part that says that they can change policies / procedures is not located near or referring to the late fees, I don't see how they could contractually charge you late fees.

Now this is something that I see often. They say that they can do this, and most of the time people just roll over and accept it. But that doesn't mean that they actually have a contractual right to do so. I would tell them that you consulted with a lawyer and he said that they couldn't enforce this provision because specific clauses will control over (apparently) conflicting general ones, and unless the general clause was specific as to what could be changed, it would be "illusory" (because it could then change everything about the contract, and therefore there's really no agreement or anything binding on the part of the school), and a court will not interpret a contract in a way that would make it illusory. Invite them to confirm this with their attorney.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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ScottyMacEsq
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