Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

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Zionman
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Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Zionman » Thu May 31, 2012 11:55 pm

Here's the (possibly hypothetical) situation:

Nonrefundable (sizeable $$) 2nd deposit Check to #2 choice in the mail, as of two days ago....not yet cashed; may not even be received.

Just got in off the waitlist at #1 choice with enough scholly and will be attending.

Is it ethical to stop the check to school I won't be attending??? Am I just rationalizing...

success888
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby success888 » Thu May 31, 2012 11:58 pm

I say cancel the check while you can and save the money. law schools are making way too much money off of students with their non-refundable seat deposits anyways.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Tom Joad » Thu May 31, 2012 11:58 pm

I kind of think I would do it unless anybody could tell me why it is a bad idea.

Zionman
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Zionman » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:00 am

Have any of you even heard of somebody doing something like this? Would the bank even do it?

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fatduck
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby fatduck » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:02 am

just gonna throw this out there: stopping a check just prevents your bank from paying it. technically, you're still on the hook for the promise.

another fun fact: at most banks, the stop payment is just an agreement not to cash the check for 6 months. after that, they could cash your check. that would be lulzy.

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20130312
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby 20130312 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:03 am

The bank would do it no questions asked, but the school might be like omgwtf. Anyone see this as a C&F issue?

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gobuffs10
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby gobuffs10 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:03 am

I don't see it as unethical. They got your first deposit, so if you stop the check, it will be like you made your choice to attend #1 and decided not to send a check to #2. I'd call your bank and see if it's been deposited yet, and if not, I'd stop payment, then call the school and tell them yourself. This will prevent any headaches or embarrassment on their end, and they'll know right away they can give your spot to someone else.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Tom Joad » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:04 am

You could try being straight up with them and calling them on the phone, hoping they agree not to cash the check and decide if you want to stop payment if they don't agree.

Also, they should have had an online site that accepts cards.

Zionman
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Zionman » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:08 am

InGoodFaith wrote:The bank would do it no questions asked, but the school might be like omgwtf. Anyone see this as a C&F issue?


C&F?????

Zionman
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Zionman » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:11 am

fatduck wrote:just gonna throw this out there: stopping a check just prevents your bank from paying it. technically, you're still on the hook for the promise.

another fun fact: at most banks, the stop payment is just an agreement not to cash the check for 6 months. after that, they could cash your check. that would be lulzy.


dam u fatduck :D with ur technical banking knowledge and play on morality!

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ben4847
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby ben4847 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:12 am

I don' like it. You promised to pay them, you gave them a payment instrument. I don' see much difference between this and sneaking into their office and taking the 500 bucks from their desk.

Zionman
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Zionman » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:20 am

ben4847 wrote:I don' like it. You promised to pay them, you gave them a payment instrument. I don' see much difference between this and sneaking into their office and taking the 500 bucks from their desk.


In all serious, benny, you're right.

To me, this is a game of pure rationalization, though. The truth of the matter is no school should make such a gargantuan amount nonrefundable. I understand that law schools want some financial committment, but $900-2000 is a huge amount of nonrefundable deposit money.

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Vronsky
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Vronsky » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:27 am

Email the school and let them know; ask them not to cash the check. Stop payment with the bank as well.

There is no reason to feel sympathetic towards the school when they are charging INSANE amounts for tuition. Seriously tuition has increased something like 450% in the last 20 years vs. health care costs up 250%. They are money making ass holes and you owe them nothing. The C&F thing is not realistic.... if you can get a DUI and pass, why would this matter?

Go where you want and don't let anything get in your way or take your $1000 along the way. They make too much money on naive students and government backed loans for this to matter.

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tyro
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby tyro » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:41 am

ben4847 wrote:I don' like it. You promised to pay them, you gave them a payment instrument. I don' see much difference between this and sneaking into their office and taking the 500 bucks from their desk.

Sending in a seat deposit says you are planning to attend. Sometimes plans change. He didn't promise to pay them anything by sending in the first seat deposit. If the check hasn't been deposited, it's fair game to cancel it.

MrAnon
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby MrAnon » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:42 am

This is not even an ethics issue. just stop the check. Can't believe you have to ask.

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bceagles182
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby bceagles182 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:49 am

http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/mail-box-rule/

The money was theirs as of the time you placed the check in the mail. Yes, law schools make a lot of money by charging exorbitant tuition. No, that isn't relevant to the question at issue.

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PDaddy
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby PDaddy » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:00 am

success888 wrote:I say cancel the check while you can and save the money. law schools are making way too much money off of students with their non-refundable seat deposits anyways.


Call school-A and let the admissions staff know that your acceptance off the WL at school-B and the seat deposit check you sent to school-A crossed in the mail or whatever logistics you can conjure up. Chalk it up to an administrative issue and ask if you can put the stop on it. After all, you shouldn't have to pay for a seat you don't want. As long as you tell the admissions office, there should be no problem. Or you could just withdraw your money and let the check bounce. I say take my first advice.
Last edited by PDaddy on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Tom Joad » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:02 am

PDaddy wrote:
success888 wrote:I say cancel the check while you can and save the money. law schools are making way too much money off of students with their non-refundable seat deposits anyways.


Call the school and let them know that your acceptance off the WL at school-B and the seat deposit check you sent to school-A crossed in the mail or whatever. Chalk it up to an administrative issue and put the stop on it. As long as you tell the admissions office, there should be no problem. Or you could just withdraw your money and let the check bounce. I say take my first advice.

Isn't it against the law to bounce a check?

ETA: wikipedia makes it sound like it may depend on the jurisdiction.

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PDaddy
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby PDaddy » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:07 am

Tom Joad wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
success888 wrote:I say cancel the check while you can and save the money. law schools are making way too much money off of students with their non-refundable seat deposits anyways.


Call the school and let them know that your acceptance off the WL at school-B and the seat deposit check you sent to school-A crossed in the mail or whatever. Chalk it up to an administrative issue and put the stop on it. As long as you tell the admissions office, there should be no problem. Or you could just withdraw your money and let the check bounce. I say take my first advice.


Isn't it against the law to bounce a check?


If that were true, there would be a lot of people...many of them being your neighbors, in jail. Lots of law-abiding citizens bounce checks every day, and for a lot of perfectly innocent reasons (many beyond their control, such as automatic debit bill payments that come in earlier than scheduled, etc.)

In and of itself, it is NOT unlawful to bounce "a check". It isn't against the law to have "insufficient funds" unless there's fraud involved, which would mean that OP would have to have written the check knowing that the funds were not and COULD not have been available. proving check fraud is a difficult thing to do. But nothing here would even be close, even if OP decided to withdraw the funds and let the check bounce. He would need to establish a long pattern before a prosecutor would even consider coming after him.

Furthermore, he isn't receiving a product or service and failing to pay for it, so...NO, it would not be against the law. It might piss someone off at the office of school-A, which is why I advised OP to follow my earlier advice.

Fwiw, I had deposited at a school a long time ago that I diod not want to attend. I spoke with the office and got my money back. They were not upset at all and wished me good luck. Look...none of this is a big deal.

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tyro
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby tyro » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:22 am

bceagles182 wrote:http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/mail-box-rule/

The money was theirs as of the time you placed the check in the mail. Yes, law schools make a lot of money by charging exorbitant tuition. No, that isn't relevant to the question at issue.

Does this rule actually apply here?

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Jaeger
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Jaeger » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:53 am

Eh, do it. Save some money. The deposit is to secure your seat. Had you not paid your deposit, I'm sure they would have had no problem giving your seat to someone else. Thus, you don't pay your deposit, you don't get your seat. In this case, you don't want a seat so it is no big whoopdeedoo. There is obviously more the legal minds here can think up to complicate things but the reality is the law school is not gonna sue you and likely not put you in collections either. It's not worth their time or money. Just don't expect to ever get into that school again. If worse came to worse you can tell the #2 school that an unexpected bill came up and you didn't have the funds so you had to stop payment. Then say you can't afford their law school. Then attend #1 with enough drinking money to last you a semester (or weekend depending on your style).

NYCLSATTutor
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby NYCLSATTutor » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:47 am

PDaddy wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
success888 wrote:I say cancel the check while you can and save the money. law schools are making way too much money off of students with their non-refundable seat deposits anyways.


Call the school and let them know that your acceptance off the WL at school-B and the seat deposit check you sent to school-A crossed in the mail or whatever. Chalk it up to an administrative issue and put the stop on it. As long as you tell the admissions office, there should be no problem. Or you could just withdraw your money and let the check bounce. I say take my first advice.


Isn't it against the law to bounce a check?


If that were true, there would be a lot of people...many of them being your neighbors, in jail. Lots of law-abiding citizens bounce checks every day, and for a lot of perfectly innocent reasons (many beyond their control, such as automatic debit bill payments that come in earlier than scheduled, etc.)

In and of itself, it is NOT unlawful to bounce "a check". It isn't against the law to have "insufficient funds" unless there's fraud involved, which would mean that OP would have to have written the check knowing that the funds were not and COULD not have been available. proving check fraud is a difficult thing to do. But nothing here would even be close, even if OP decided to withdraw the funds and let the check bounce. He would need to establish a long pattern before a prosecutor would even consider coming after him.

Furthermore, he isn't receiving a product or service and failing to pay for it, so...NO, it would not be against the law. It might piss someone off at the office of school-A, which is why I advised OP to follow my earlier advice.

Fwiw, I had deposited at a school a long time ago that I diod not want to attend. I spoke with the office and got my money back. They were not upset at all and wished me good luck. Look...none of this is a big deal.


I can't speak to other jurisdictions, but it is a crime to bounce a check in the state of New York regardless of whether fraud exists or not.

That being said, I am uncertain about the relationship between canceling a check and bouncing a check for OP's purposes.

dixon02
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby dixon02 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:16 am

As someone else suggested, I would contact the school to let them know, but I'd also cancel the check. I wouldn't ask them anything, I would just call and explain the situation, let them know you've cancelled the check, tell them you appreciate their understanding, and say you're sorry for the confusion. Shouldn't be a big deal. If they raise a fuss, that's on them, but I doubt they're going to get all worked up over one seat deposit, especially since you've given them prompt notice that you can't attend so they can open up the seat.

If they do threaten anything, just call their bluff. What are they gonna do, sue you? The amount it would cost them to take any sort of action exceeds the deposit anyway. You'll be fine.

pferaso
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby pferaso » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:50 am

Zionman wrote:Here's the (possibly hypothetical) situation:

Nonrefundable (sizeable $$) 2nd deposit Check to #2 choice in the mail, as of two days ago....not yet cashed; may not even be received.

Just got in off the waitlist at #1 choice with enough scholly and will be attending.

Is it ethical to stop the check to school I won't be attending??? Am I just rationalizing...


Of course is ethical, you´re negotiating a contract for which you´ll be paying an obscene amount of money, not getting married.

Besides, that is the purpose of the deposits: to show the university your intention of attending the school, not that you´re actually accepting their terms.

Leena716
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Re: Question on the ethics of playing the seat deposit game

Postby Leena716 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:10 am

I stopped a check to a law school once I found out I got a better scholarship at a school that I would rather go to. I don't know if it was a polite move necessarily, but I wasn't really worried about politeness at the time and I don't feel like I was calling into question my ethical integrity. Anyway, the school I stopped the check on recently increased their scholarship offer even though now both of their deposit deadlines have passed, so I don't think they held it against me too much.

Do what you want. It's your money. You don't have to give it to them.




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