help with collection agency

help with collection agency

Last fall, I dropped out of college (bad idea, I know). I dropped all my classes on the drop/add date; on the school's website, it says "100% refund of tuition if you drop before the drop/add date." As I took it, that meant I didn't owe them anything (if you didn't pay yet, then you didn't owe...is this a rational leap?) Fast forward to...about January? When I started getting calls from the collection agency, saying I owed the school a fee. (They had been mailing me bills, but to my parents' house; I hadn't updated my address with the school when I moved. I didn't think I had further business with them.) When I emailed the school finance department, they replied that it was because I dropped out, but didn't respond when I asked for proof that the debt was valid (i.e. a school policy). I have had several conversations with the collections agency, telling them that the debt is not valid and pointing them to the website that says so. Forget the point that I can't afford to pay this. The latest letter threatens a ding on my credit (which I am trying to build), and tells me if I can't afford it to "contact a lending institution to aid" me, or else they will "take additional collection activity". What does that mean, exactly? I think they have threatened to garnish my taxes. How do I make them go away, before they mess with my credit? If they do, how do I dispute that? Any advice appreciated.
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