Appeals

Requesting a reduction or waiver of library fines, fees and replacement costs

Any library borrower may appeal library fines, fees or replacement costs through the online appeal form. The Libraries understands that fines and fees can be a detriment or barrier and aims to give our users a process to mediate them. The form gives space to explain why library error or extenuating circumstances may have contributed to the situation, or whatever information the user feels is relevant. Fines, fees and replacement costs must be appealed within 6 months of their assessed dates, and may only be appealed once.

How to Submit an Appeal

Start an Appeal

  • If you would like assistance with filling out the form, contact Library Account Services.
  • After submitting the form, verify that you have received a confirmation email at the email address you entered. Read email thoroughly.
  • Wait for the decision. Though amounts are on appeal, they will still show on your library account and you may continue to receive monthly email account summaries, but no collection action will be taken on them.
  • Final decisions from the committee will be sent after the end of each quarter via U.S. mail to the address provided in your appeal.  If you have a change of address, or plan to move out of the country at the end of the quarter, please notify Library Account Services.

Process

Appeals are adjudicated on a quarterly basis by the Library Fines Appeals Committee and are designated as brief adjudicative procedures under the Washington Administrative Code. Decisions are based on the borrower's statement in the appeal, the Loan Code for the University of Washington Libraries, statement(s) provided by the Libraries, and any other relevant information.  Members of the Library Fines Appeals Committee can also view past and present appeals. Language, grammar, spelling and writing ability have no weight on the decision-making process, as we aim to create a process that provides the best opportunity for reduction or waiver.

Assistance

If you have physical limitations or obstacles with submitting this form, please contact Library Account Services for assistance.  Questions about the process may also be directed there.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the appeal form

Can I appeal multiple fines and fees on the same form?
Yes.  You may fill out one appeal form for all eligible fines and fees and replacement costs from all UW Libraries locations.

Can I submit multiple appeals for the same quarter if I accrue additional fines?
Yes. Multiple appeals can be submitted and are encouraged for separate instances/circumstances where fines were assessed.  We do not recommend submitting an appeal for each single fine listed.  Appeal histories are available to the Committee and will be reviewed in the decision process.

I have a physical limitation and am unable to submit the form online. What can I do?
We understand that there may be obstacles preventing individuals from submitting the electronic form and we are more than happy to assist you.  Please contact Library Account Services for help with submitting your appeal.

I can't remember the titles/info of the items I'm appealing.  What should I do?
View your fines details in your online library account and enter as much information as you can in the form.  Library Account Services will do their best to ensure your appeal covers exactly what you intended.  If there are questions (discrepancies or information that requires clarification), they will contact you using the contact information provided.

How can I tell which library owns the item?
See your online library account.  Click on the title of the item you are unsure of and look at the "location" field to determine the item's owning library.

How do I select multiple libraries for a location?
Hold down the Ctrl key while you click the units you need to choose.

How do I submit evidence?
You can submit evidence to Library Account Services by email, mail or in person.  Library Account Services is located on the first floor of Suzzallo Library, open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, closed on weekends and UW holidays.  To submit by mail:

Library Account Services
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA 98195-2900

Please note that all evidence is kept confidential and is only accessible by staff involved in the appeals process for the purpose of reviewing your appeal request.

What if my appeal falls under more than one of the general reasons for appeal?
If all the items in your appeal fall under the same reason for appeal, choose the best answer from the drop down menu of general reasons and give a complete, detailed explanation of your appeal.  In cases where you have accrued charges under completely separate circumstances, you may consider filing multiple appeals.

What if my appeal amount changes?
If your appeal amount changes due to an adjustment for a returned item, library error, or other circumstance, there is no need to take further action.  Your appeal will be adjusted accordingly and any updates will be reviewed by the Committee.


Questions about the process

Who makes the decision?
The Library Fines Appeals Committee consists of university peers- a faculty member chair, and two students- who make their decision independently of the Libraries.  Libraries may give clarifying information regarding policies, search results for missing items, and more, but the committee ensures that each claim is considered fairly and equitably.

Can I appeal on behalf of someone else? Can someone else appeal on my behalf?
Appeals must be received from the owner of the library account in question.  In the case of extenuating circumstances, please contact Library Account Services with the details of your situation.

How and when will I find out about the decision?
You will receive a letter from Library Account Services via U.S. Mail at the address you provided in the appeal.  Notify Library Account Services if your address changes.  Decisions generally come after the end of the quarter during which it was submitted.

Will my suspended borrowing privileges be restored?
You will not be held responsible for the charges contained in your appeal until they have been adjudicated.  If you appeal in full, borrowing privileges will be restored for current account holders. Any charges accrued after the appeal is submitted are subject to collection and would require payment or a separate appeal.

What happens if I don't like the result of my appeal?
You have 21 days from the date of your decision letter to ask for an administrative review of your appeal.  Details on how to file an administrative review will be in your adjudication letter.

Will I be refunded if I pay the charges now?
Yes.  If you have already paid your charges before adjudication, and the decision includes a waiver or reduction, you will be refunded whatever portion dictated by the Library Fines Appeals Committee in the weeks following your appeal decision.

What do I do while I am waiting?
You may want to set aside money for the charges during the time that they are under appeal.  This will make it easier for you later if the committee decides to uphold the charges. For any items that you believed were returned, we recommend checking your personal spaces (home, office, car, etc) once again to ensure the item was not overlooked.  You should also continue to keep an eye on your library account to make sure that no new charges accrue.

Why am I still receiving notices about the appealed balance?
Monthly borrowing summaries are sent by email automatically to all active accounts with balances and/or checked out items, even if the balance is on active appeal.  Be sure to review the email to make sure your account activity is correct, and reply to it if you have questions.


Questions about billed books and equipment

What if I believe that I returned the item?
If you believe that you have returned the item, put as much detail into the appeal statement as possible about the item and where/when it was returned.  As part of the appeals process, the item will be thoroughly searched for in all locations that you think you may have returned it.

What if the billed book I appealed is found while it is on appeal?
If the book is found and returned while it is on appeal the replacement charge for the item will be deducted from your account and the total amount of the appeal.  If there are no additional charges remaining, the appeal will be canceled.

What if I would like to replace the item?
Contact Library Account Services to ask about acceptable replacements in lieu of paying the replacement fee, or note in the appeal that you would like to replace, and information will be sent to you after you submit.  Do not purchase a replacement until you have spoken with the Libraries first to make sure you are getting the correct copy, edition, condition, etc and approval is granted.

 

Related content

UW Libraries Loan Code

Washington Administrative Code - Appeal of Library Charges