When you go into default on your student loans, information is hard to come by – yet it’s of vital importance for getting back on track with payments.
Suddenly you’re getting bills and collection calls from companies you’ve never heard of, and they’re asking for far more than you think you owe.
Most experts will tell you to demand copies of your loan documents before agreeing to make any payments, but what they don’t tell you is just how difficult it can be to track down what you need.
On today’s show we have a question from Rita, a listener who’s having a tough time getting information from the debt collector handling her student loans. Rita sent in this question:
Dear Jay, I’ve had it up to here with these student loans and I can’t seem to get rid of them. I had all my student loans with Sallie Mae when I left school in 2011, and I owed about $35,000. Sallie Mae sold the loans to a company called Navient but they didn’t give me any warning. Then one day I get this letter from Navient telling me to send them money – I never heard of these people before, so I didn’t pay them anything. That was in 2014 I think. Now I’m getting letters and phone calls from a company called Performant and they say I owe $45,000 with collection fees. I’ve been asking them since last June to show me proof that the debt in my name is valid but they’re not giving me anything. I called Navient but they’re not helpful, so I even submitted a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over it. This looks suspicious to me, and I’m thinking they don’t have the documents to prove I owe them anything. Is there a way I can make them send me the documentation proving my debt is valid? Does the fact they didn’t send it mean they don’t have the promissory note? Can I get my loan back to Sallie Mae? How deep does this scam go, and how can I sue them?
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- Federal Student Loan Ombudsman
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- National Student Loan Data System Records Retention Policies
- Recordkeeping and Disclosure Rules for Schools
- FSA Handbook: Recordkeeping, Privacy, & Electronic Processes
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (text of the law)
- Privacy Act of 1974 (text of the law)
- A Citizen’s Guide on Using FOIA and the Privacy Act to Request Government Records
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