Accommodation refunds delayed

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For the second consecutive year, Lancaster University students living on campus have been left out of pocket as a result of a delay in accommodation deposit refunds.

Many students were sent an e-mail informing them of “an unfortunate holdup” in deposit refunds due to a “software problem”. The problem was said to have “affected all the deposit refunds across campus” and that students would most likely get their deposits back toward the end of August.

Fylde and Furness accomodation buildings — Photo by Ali Shaw
Photo by Ali Shaw

Not everyone, however, received this e-mail and many students have been left not only out of pocket, but also in the dark. Second year Lonsdale student Laura Mulholland described the situation as “a joke”, having neither received the e-mail nor any information on how much of her deposit she will eventually get back.

First year County student Chris Whalley had also received no information and chose to ring up Credit Control.Whalley described Credit Control as “helpful” and they informed him that he would receive his deposit back by “the end of August”. Residence manager, Candace Davies, confirmed that they “did discover an error in one of the system interfaces” but went on to say that it affected only a “small proportion of student deposits”. Although being “quickly identified and rectified” the error has nonetheless resulted in refunds being at least “two weeks behind” schedule.

When asked what he thought about how college administrators are handling the situation, LUSU Vice-President for Finance, Events, Democracy and Societies, Matt Windsor, said he is “sure the college admins are dealing with it the best they can. I know a lot of people are running low on cash for summer, but it’s a central systems fault rather than a particular college problem”.

Nevertheless, students have been left agitated by the lack of communication. First year Lonsdale student Grace Fitzpatrick said that she is “relying on the deposit to pay back my overdraft and they are unfairly holding back money which is not theirs to keep”.

It appears that it is not only students that are uninformed of the situation at hand. Grizedale Administrator, Barbara Glass, said that as a College Administrator she “has nothing to do with accommodation” but “to her knowledge there has been no delay with the returns of the deposits” this year, going on to say that if there were a delay it would be “in how long it takes to clear up and repair the residences”.

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