Will the DKos lawyers please take a look. How do we get itemized statements from the Student Loan Lenders? Copies of original Promissory Notes? All financial records? Without which, how can we know what they say is owed, is actually owed?
Yes, I have an adult child caught up in the Student Loan debacle. For a year, said adult child has asked for written statements to prove that the Collectors numbers match the loans originally taken out. NADA! Can't get written, detailed, monthly Student Loan Statements.
And I am not suggesting that those who took out Student Loans don't have an obligation to pay back the loans. But to do so without clear documentation from the Collectors raises my eyebrows. We are going to lawyer up!
However, after researching this issue, there is clearly some shell-game behavior by the lenders going on.
I do understand that Student Loans don't have the same consumer protections; however, isn't there a possibility that these loans are subject to contractual laws?
There is every indication and possibility that many Student Loan Debtors are at risk of overpaying, being unduly penalized with fees and interest hikes, and that their payments are being incorrectly allocated, UNLESS they are receiving clear, timely, and correct written statements from their lenders that prove otherwise.
The fast and furious push to take on Student Debt to attain a degree has created a mess on a scale as large or larger than the mortgage shell games.
I think it is up to each Debtor to DEMAND clear accounting and, lacking that clear accounting IN THE FORM OF MONTHLY WRITTEN STATEMENTS mailed via the US Post Office (who can certainly use the business), take action, in writing. What action?
I honestly don't know? Do you? Do States have a department to help if a SL Debtor is being jerked around?
There is a looming possibility that the Student Loan Collectors don't have a leg to stand on, any more than the Who-The-Heck-Owns-My-Mortgage-This-Month Loan collectors had.
SHOW ME THE PAPERWORK
You see, paperwork is very important to Judges as the following credit card case proves. There are laws and legal contractual precedence that, unless proven otherwise, may help Student Loan Debtors get out from under undue burden caused by collectors who lack standing AND proof of indebtedness.
UPDATE - HERE IS AN ANSWER! A COMMENT FROM BELOW. IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME (I edited format, added emphasis only):
by malenda on Mon May 28, 2012 at 02:37:27 PM PDT
The FDCPA should help
If the collector is an outside agency hired by the federal government, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will apply.
When a collection letter is received,
1. it should always state that the person has 30 days to request verification of the debt.
2. Upon receipt of the the notice of debt and within 30 days, send the collector a letter requesting verification of that debt. (By certified mail)
3. You should receive back a copy of the signed promissory note and a payment history for verification.
4. However, because these are so often sold to collection agency after collection agency, the verification may not exist.
5A. If it does not exist, one of three things will happen.
5B. The debt may be referred to an attorney for suit,
5C. the creditor will simply refer the debt to another collector, or
5D. the collection agency will show the debt as noncollectable and it will be dropped.
What happens will depend on whether the original promissory note can even be found.
It is not proper verification of debt to simply send an affidavit saying the debt exists.
The debtor is entitled to the note.
Keep in mind that the provisions of the FDCPA do not generally apply to the federal government, so the government may simply keep any tax refunds for payment.
The Credit Card Collecter lost this case. I think the details of why the lender lost this case could be a precedent to use when fighting the Student Loan lenders:
I think this case lends credibility to Student Loan cases, I could be wrong.
JP Morgan Chase purchased Washington Mutual and its Providian Credit Card portfolio and, in addition to Chase's own poorly managed paper work problems, created a lack of credible paperwork to support it's collection claims.
You really have to read this article to get a glimpse of just how screwed up Chase's internal record keeping is. In fact, if all that is alleged and listed here is true, this debacle is eerily similar to the mortgage mess.
1. Incorrect debt dollar amounts;
2. Misplaced and/or unentered payments;
3. Misallocated payments; and
"Confusion often covers sin" my dad taught me years ago.
Chase's inability to properly present THE PAPERWORK to satisfy the law is perfectly presented in this Judgement in favor of the Defendent/Debtor.
Btw, if you had a Providian/WaMu credit card and Chase/Collections says they have a Judgement for collection against you, you may have similar standing. Have your lawyer demand that the collection agent SHOW YOU THE PAPERWORK and prove STANDING.
Chase's "white shoe" attorney lost this case. The Judge's conclusion:
Here, Mr. Lavergne's foundational testimony was essentially a verbatim recitation of the statutory elements set forth in CPLR 4518[a]. He gave absolutely no testimony as to how the electronic records concerning defendant's account statements came into existence nor did he indicate that he even knew how such information was collected.Credible evidence. Paperwork!
Moreover, Mr. Lavergne failed to demonstrate that the credit card statements were routine reflections of day-to-day operations of Chase or that Chases had an obligation to have the statements be truthful and accurate for the purposes of the conduct of the enterprise
Further, Mr. Lavergne's testimony was highly suspect. As stated above, some of the records that plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence through the testimony of Mr. Lavergne were apparently prepared by Washington Mutual Bank. The foundational testimony given by Mr. Lavergne concerning these records was identical to the foundational testimony he gave concerning the Chase records.
Regarding the plaintiff's cause of action for account stated, it fails because the evidence was insufficient to establish that the statements were mailed to defendant pursuant to a "standard office practice or procedure designed to ensure that items are properly addressed and mailed"
In sum, the offered "robo-testimony" was insufficient to establish its case by a preponderance of the credible evidence.
BACK TO STUDENT LOANS
Admittedly, I have no experience with Student Loans; however, there is ample evidence, based on complaints, that there are a preponderance of shady practices.
Let's look at Citibank's sale of Student Loans to Sallie Mae.
The transaction, originally announced in September will add 1.3 million customers to Sallie Mae's customer base.Let's look at the complaints regarding Student Loan Debtors and Citibank Student Loans.
"We are pleased to welcome our new customers and to bring them our first-class customer care, college saving, and online banking offerings to help them achieve their education and financial goals," said Albert L. Lord, vice chairman and CEO of Sallie Mae.
Citigroup shares rose 1.3 percent in premarket trade.
88% reporting gave CitiBank a LOW SATISFACTION RATING. Here's a smattering of comment segments. If you take the time to read through the complaints you will find some common threads:
1. Citibank doesn't work with debtors in financial distress.
2. Citibank makes misapplication of late fees, payments, school end dates, etc.
3. Citibank often lacks supporting paperwork
CitiBank SLC COMPLAINT SNIPPETS
...The second problem is Citi was not willing to negotiate a Loan Rehab arrangement with me to take loans out of default. They'd rather just keep switching the loans from collection agency to collection agency so they can complicate the situation further!If you read the Citibank SLC complaint written by Carolyn of Gilroy, CA on Feb. 24, 2012, it appears that there was student coercion, consumer fraud, loan insurance fraud, and very possibly/likely loan application ROBOSIGNING by either school or bank personnel.
...I then asked, "So are you telling me that my only option is to default on my student loan?" The answer: "Yes."
...Next I said, "So you're telling me you cannot work with me? I am willing to give you a $150 payment a month for now and will contact you when I can pay more and you are unwilling to work with that? Ok, so basically you're telling me to contact you when I have a lawyer?" And her response was, "Yes, Miss *."
...I recommend keeping meticulous records with Citibank because they obviously don't keep their own records.
I know this is a long entry; however, this one complaint DEMONSTRATES several problems created by Student Loan providers, in this case CitiBank:
My daughter was in her first year at USD in 1998 and away from home for the first time.If you are are anything like me, you are now boiling and practically in tears for this mom. People today don't have time to deal with what I call STUFF LIKE THIS.
She attended a financial seminar, for which the school had requested my permission for her to attend. I thought it was going to be an educational experience.
However, it was a roundtable event with bank representatives pushing freshman students into applying for private student loans.
I was at work when I received a frantic call from my daughter attending this seminar that I must immediately sign and fax back an
APPLICATION COVER PAGE (emphasis mine)
for a loan while she was still in attendance at this seminar.
Under pressure, I faxed it back, knowing it was only one page of what I believed was probably a multiple-page application.
I felt sure it was not a commitment on my part due to the lack of information to support the application, with it only being the cover page. Also, no loan amount was showing; the school section had not been filled out. It was basically a blank cover page.
So I put my address, work info, and SSN; I signed and faxed back.
I received nothing and heard nothing.
In 1999, during a credit check up, popped a second CitiBank Student Loan. I contacted CitiBank, and they could not find a loan document or promissory note to send me in support of this loan.
They also removed the debt entry from the credit bureaus. I thought it was behind me as a mistake.
In 2006, CitiBank once again put the debt taken off my credit report back on from 1999 and began harassing calls to me, my employer, and my daughter.
Again, I called, and they had no paperwork but insisted on payment or they threatened to put a lien on my home, garnish my wages and my husband's wages, and have the federal government take my tax refund.
Under threat, I allowed them to take $1000 out of my bank account, while I continued my dialogue with the bank to get any documentation to verify the loan.
In 2008, Citibank sent me a copy of a faxed copy of that loan application cover that I had signed. The school information was still blank, and at the bottom of the application was written $3500 with an initial.
Many phone calls, letters, and notes went back and forth, because according to CitiBank, that application cover page was the promissory note and the original loan document and that no other documentation ever existed and was not needed to verify this loan obligation. The school did not receive the funds for this alleged loan. My daughter also did not receive the funds.
In 2011, The attorneys also gave me a document that is an insurance certificate indicating CitiBank was paid the full loan amount in an insurance claim.
I paid half the loan amount, and apparently, the loan was sold to a collection agency.
I go to court in April 2012, and the response I get from Nelson & Kennard for my requests for a promissory note or loan document to verify this loan is "The request is unduly burdensome, ambiguous, and vague."
I am told because I allowed payments to be taken from my account, I will lose this case regardless of the lack of documentation to verify a loan ever existed.
And this is what the STUDENT LOAN SHARKS ARE RELYING ON. If we don't fight back, keep meticulous records, and demand documentation BEFORE we pay a dime, I think we are being suckers for a potentially very corrupt system.
Corrupt? Really? Yes, corrupt by their own admission:
Remember this bomb shell back in 2007?
Sallie Mae changes its student loan ways
An expanding investigation of the student-loan industry is ensnaring more lenders and stoking fears that a chummy relationship between the lending industry and financial aid administrators has inflated the cost of borrowing for college.Sallie Mae and CitiBank, 2007, each pay a paltry $2 million for scamming students.
Sallie Mae, the nation's largest private student-loan provider, agreed Wednesday to pay $2 million and to stop compensating financial aid officials with trips and other perks for serving on its student lending advisory boards. The lender — which works with 5,600 schools and has nearly 10 million borrowers — also agreed to stop running university call centers where its staffers often identified themselves as part of the university, rather than as part of Sallie Mae.
Its settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo comes a week after Citibank, the second-largest private lender, also agreed to a $2 million settlement. Settlement money collected from lenders will be used to educate students and their parents about loans, Cuomo said.
And what were some of the comments left back in 2007? Here's a couple:
...."The original plus loans were $3,000 one year and then next was $3,000. I was never told about the interest rates. Years later because of deferment the loan together is now $33,000."BACK TO STUDENT LOANS
....I then found ITT TECH, my family had little money and was unable to help me with any of the expenses, I was very leary of attending, with the high cost of attending this school.
"The school then explained to me how low intrest rates are these days and that it would be very affordable, once I graduate and am placed into a job.
Needless to say I have since graduated and am working in a manufacturing environment making about $25k per year, and like all the other comments
I then found out I had a private loan through SALLIE MAE totaling $20k with a 17% interest rate,
and on top of that I also have $15k in federal loans.
This $35k loan is only for a 2 year ITT TECH degree, and when everything is said and done, I will probably have paid $60k and will be out of a job considering all of the manufacturing in America is being farmed out to other countrys.
If only I had known all of this when I was 18, I most likely would have never considered furthering my education.
In conclusion you are better off working at mcdonalds and paying on a mortgage, then paying all your hard earned money into sallie maes pockets for the rest of your life."
$35,000 for a two year "degree" from ITT TECH? That's highway robbery. How is that price justified?
Sallie Mae complaints are all over the internet. From ConsumerAffairs.com Sallie Mae has a 91% Lowest Satisfaction Rating:
.....In sum, I owe SM about $2700 between two loans. One has a balance of about $400 and the other is $2300. I have been consistently making payments (which always fluctuate and I seriously can't make sense of their billing structure - I just pay).The preponderance of complaints that SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG with Sallie Mae and other lenders is evidence, isn't it?
......Refund of $2,335.00 from Sallie Mae denied - After being hounded by Sallie Mae for years, they finally garnished my checks and were fully paid. I had always maintained that my escrow company during a refinance had paid Sallie Mae on my behalf but was unable to find the receipt. Recently, I stumbled on the receipt. I sent it to them, and all along, they were doing research. Today, Friday, 04/27/12, a bold Sarah from Sallie Mae said that they will not refund my money. What can I do? I have all the necessary proof which I have also sent to them on various occasions.
....I went to the website provided and saw that I could file the dispute due to the original disbursement amounts not matching. Sallie Mae had different amounts of money disbursed than what the school had.
....Sallie Mae still states there is a balance due that does jive with my current payments due, leaving me suspicious that there may be more payments not properly posted to my account. With Sallie Mae refusing to respond to my multiple written, faxed, and emailed requests, I am unable to determine how the money "owed" is being calculated or where it is directly coming from.
....My advice to anyone dealing with Saliie Mae is to get out! I was able to do this pay taking out a line of credit at my bank and transferring the balance of my Sallie Mae to that. They make it impossible to pay them off. They should not be allowed to lend!
I tried to call Sallie Mae this morning. I have talked to three people, all offshore. They didn't seem to know what they're doing.
I am a deployed soldier in Afghanistan. In May, a month before I left for deployment, I submitted deployment related deferment paperwork. They lost it. I did not realize I was being reported as "late" because, of course, I am at war and kind of busy. I was able to resubmit the paperwork in October, but they refused to go back and change my payment history for July and August because the "non-payment was reported correctly". I wanted to buy a home (what would have been mine and my wife's first), but I cannot because I have "payments" within the last year.
In the fall of 2011, Sallie Mae began to garnish my social security disability benefits even though they claimed to not own my loan and was unable to make any payment arrangements.
AND IF YOU GOT YOUR DEGREE FROM PHOENIX OR OTHER PRIVATE COLLEGES, YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN SCAMMED BIG TIME
Until this week, the highest profile action against a for-profit school was the U.S. Department of Education's lawsuit against the University of Phoenix, which settled in 2007 for $9.8 million.
University of PHOENIX is owned by Education Management who also runs these schools
The Art InstitutesPRIVATE SO-CALLED COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES SITUATED IN STRIP MALLS AND OFFICE BUILDINGS are not Colleges and Universities. How they are legally allowed to advertise as such makes my blood boil. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU! It all about making $$ for the corporation that owns them and their shareholders.
Brown Mackie College
CAVEAT EMPTOR! Buyer Beware! Before you sign anything with these schools, call local employers, talk to Human Resources or whoever does the hiring and see if a degree from any of these schools mean anything to the person doing the hiring.
Also, demand to talk to at least 3 former graduates that can verify that the pay they are now making was worth the STUDENT EXPENSE/LOANS!
Here's an example. These students paid a fortune to learn to cook and could barely get $8 an hour after graduating:
California Culinary Academy used to have a good reputation UNTIL it was purchased by Career Education Corporation in 1999.
By the time former student Alan Livingston enrolled in May 2005, “it had a factory feel to it,” he says, and tuition for the 15-month culinary program was up to $45,000. Today, it’s about $47,000.Whose Career Education Corporation, you ask?
Career Education Corporation runs these schools FOR PROFIT.
American InterContinental University
Colorado Technical University
Harrington College of Design
International Academy of Design & Technology
Le Cordon Bleu
Career Education Corporation tried Downsizing, closed several locations, tried to transform others. So, I'd think twice. Will they still be there in 2-4 years?
After seeking unsuccessfully to sell several of its campuses, in June 2007 Career Education announced that it would close the Brooks College campuses in Sunnyvale and Long Beach, California, and the Pittsburgh branch of the International Academy of Design and Technology. No new enrollments would be accepted, and the final graduation dates would be September 2008 at the Sunnyvale campus, December 2008 in Pittsburgh, and March 2009 in Long Beach.LASTLY, in my State of Utah, there is a Masters Degree Bottleneck, forcing people to look at private school places like The University of Phoenix as the only place to go for a Masters Degree. Many of these students are adults with children, so moving around the country isn't an option for most. I know of a couple that will go to Phoenix, sign a permission slip for future wages to be garnished, because they can't find a decent paying job, and need to defer student loan payments. That seems crazy to me. Phoenix charges more than what Harvard charged at one time.
On February 2008 Career Education Corporation announced that it would also phase out operations of nine money-losing colleges, including several Gibbs College campuses, Lehigh Valley College, and McIntosh College in New Hampshire and to seek permission to convert two Gibbs college locations to Sanford-Brown College campuses.
On February 18, 2008 CEC's American InterContinental University announced plans to gradually close down its Los Angeles campus. Current students would have the opportunity to complete their programs, but no new students would be enrolled. Dr. George Miller, CEO of American InterContinental University, said “the impact of a two-year probation, coupled with the current market for AIU’s programs in Los Angeles, is such that the student population at the campus has decreased significantly, and likely will not reach the sustainable level necessary to support the addition of new programs and necessary resources.”
This doesn't seem right to me.
Anyone but Sallie Mae!
Get involved in the solution. DROP IN TO THIS SITE
Click on TAKE ACTION and take action!
Studentloanjustice.Org is a grassroots, citizens organization dedicated to returning standard consumer protections to student loans. The group was started in March, 2005, and has focused primarily on research, media outreach, and grassroots lobbying initiatives.READ: The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History—and How We Can Fight Back Author: Alan Michael Collinge
The group and its members have been featured on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The News Hour, CNBC, and many other television programs, print media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many others as well as numerous radio and internet broadcasts. The group is also featured in two documentaries airing and screening in Fall, 2010.
The group was credited as the inspiration for The Student Borrower Bill of Rights, and has broken numerous news items in the press with its research findings regarding conflicts of interest in the student loan system, Student Debt levels, Default Rates, corporate lobbying, and other areas.
Group Founder Alan Collinge has written numerous articles, and editorials on the topic, and also published The Student Loan Scam in 2009. He was selected as one of seven "Financial Heroes" by CNN/Money Magazine in December 2008.
The group is funded entirely by its members, with a budget that averages less than $10,000 per year.
May 8, 2012: This month, education loan giant Sallie Mae is launching its first fixed-rate private student loan to compete with federal student loans, which have historically been better deals for students because of low, fixed interest rates, as opposed to variable rates, and more protections for borrowers.SO, IF YOU THINK YOUR LENDER ISN'T PLAYING BY THE RULES, DEMAND TO SEE THE PROMISSORY NOTE, LOAN APPLICATION, MONTHLY STATEMENTS, ETC.
The private loans will have a fixed interest rate from 5.8 percent to 12.9 percent
If they can't provide you with these, make time to force the issue. It could save you a lot of money and heartache down the road.
Maybe Sallie Mae is coming to a similar conclusion:
Luck to you all.
With my permission, send this off to your State and Federal Congressional Representatives.
If you have a chance, I think The National Academy Foundationmight be encouraging students to take on debt for higher education. NAF does some great work, but I was astounded when I found the following.
Is this NAF or a rip-off/NAF look-a-like? If it is NAF, this is alarming.
In this NAF-Education.org "how to pay for school" document, prospective students are given a link to
*Plain Green, LLC is a tribal lending entity wholly owned by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Montana, a sovereign nation located within the United States of America, and is operating within the Tribe's Reservation.What do you think?