Debt Collector Bullying Me To Sign Affidavit Saying I Can Pay More Than I Can

Sarah has $40k+ in student debt that went into default after she got sick and had to spend a lot of money on medical care. She’s been paying it off, but one of the companies that owns one of her loans, NCO Financial, has told her that unless she signs a legal document that says she can pay $260 a month, they’re going to place her account back in collections and start harassing her even more than they are now (they’re already calling her daily at home and work)…

Now, she can’t pay $260 a month and doesn’t want to sign this document, but is looking for advice about whether she should or not. I haven’t heard about this kind of affidavit so I’m just going to throw that part out to the readers, but I do know that collection agencies are not allowed to just keep calling you at your home and work to get you to pay. That’s a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Inside, Sarah’s story and what she can say to NCO to get them to stop calling.

Sarah writes:

I’m 27 and graduated with about $40k in student debt. Around the time my loans went into repayment, I got very sick and had to pay a lot of medical bills and ended up going into default on my student loans. Since then I’ve been trying to dig my way out of the hole. I recently rehabilitated my Sallie Mae loan. I’m in a rehabilitation program with collection agency Windham Professionals– I’m paying $335 a month for nine months, not a small amount on $38k a year. I’ve got one other loan with a collection agency, NCO Financial.

I’ve been making payments on time to NCO for 27 months, long enough that my debt should have been rehabilitated months ago. Here’s the thing. They want me to sign a statement that says I am able to afford to pay $260 a month should my loans be rehabilitated, triple my current payment. I can’t afford that. I sent them a letter three months ago explaining that I have a chronic medical condition that requires me to pay hundreds of dollars in prescription copays each month, and therefore I cannot afford another $260 a month. It’s on record. Now they’re telling me that if I don’t sign this (false) legal document, they will never rehabilitate my loan. In fact, they told me that if I keep paying the amount I’m currently paying, they’ll place me back into collections and step up their harassment. Repeat: I’ve been making my payments on time for 27 months! One representative told me that they’re doing this to all of their victims– er, customers– because the company is in trouble. Guess they took on too many toxic debts… seems to be an epidemic!

I’m concerned that if I sign the document, I’ll be held liable for the $260. Furthermore, I’ll be signing a legal document that is (a) false, and (b) contradicts a statement I’ve already put on record. If I don’t sign the document, though, I’ll continue to be in default and may be subject to further penalties. Meanwhile, NCO is harassing me with daily phone calls to my work and home numbers.

My questions for you and your readers:

1. Is this legal? If not, do I have any recourse?
2. What happens if the company goes out of business?
3. What should I do? I could:
(a) sign the document, pay the triple amount, and stop taking my medicine and paying my rent;
(b) continue to pay the current amount, in the hopes that external circumstances (the election, the company going under) intervene; or
(c) stop paying anything, since they’re telling me that the consequences will be the same whether I pay the current amount or nothing at all.

I’m at a loss here… has anyone faced a similar situation?

Next time they call, say this:

“I am requesting that you not contact me by phone in the future. I do not want to receive any more calls from you at home or at work and am asking you to communicate with me only in writing.”

If they give you static, say this:

“The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that you stop phoning me at home and at work once I request that you do so. I intend to send you a certified letter tomorrow putting my no contact request in writing. If you continue to phone me, then I will file a complaint with the FTC and the attorney general.”

Then send them this letter by certified mail:

Date

Your Name
Address
City, State Zip

Debt Collector’s Name
Address
City, State Zip

Re: Account Number

Dear Debt Collector:

Pursuant to my rights under federal debt collection laws, I am requesting that you cease and desist communication with me, as well as my family and friends, in relation to this and all other alleged debts you claim I owe.

You are hereby notified that if you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the [your state here] Attorney General’s office. Civil and criminal claims will be pursued.
Sincerely,

Your Name

Any advice about the affidavit?

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. cf27 says:

    She should certainly not sign it. If it’s false, then she’s committed perjury. There is no upside to her and plenty of downside. The lender is looking for a document that they can take into court in case she declares bankruptcy or they decide to take her to court on the loan.

    She immediately get in touch with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) and talk to a credit counselor to get some good advice.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’d consult an attorney. I realize you are strapped for cash right now, but in this case a one time consultation could be less expensive than than alternative. This sounds like a very questionable pressure tactic on the bill collector’s part. They are already contracted to collect a set amount per month. Your having been faithful with your payments should not result in their being able to just change the rules this way.

  3. zigziggityzoo says:

    DO NOT Sign! She should NEVER perjure herself just to make the phone calls stop. Keep making payments on time, and they have NO legal recourse.

  4. nightsky says:

    Why not get a hardship deferral for the medical condition? Gov. backed student loans allow for this. Then she doesn’t have to pay until she can.

    • Klaus_Kinsky says:

      @nightsky: Here is the problem with those deferrals: they capitalize the interest on the loan and turn it into principle. So while you have some breathing room by deferring payments, you hose your future by having to pay even more just by deferring. Its worse than credit card interest!

      • MikeB says:

        @Klaus_Kinsky: Only use deferment as a last option. I deferred my loans and am still paying on them 12 years after I graduated. A couple years ago I started making regular payments and the end is now in sight.

      • LoriLynn says:

        @Klaus_Kinsky: Yes yes! I’m dealing with this. Temporary relief added YEARS to my payments. My fault? Absolutely. Still stinks.

      • chrisjames says:

        @Klaus_Kinsky: Not all deferrals add interest. That would be forbearance. A lender may allow you to defer without accruing interest under some set rules. You could always ask very nicely too, but likely they’ll just throw you in forbearance because they can’t go without their money forever.

        Regardless, forbearance is much better than default. You just have to keep making the maximum payments you can, and adjust your finances until you can get back on track. Prepare to live on the cheap for a while.

    • Happy Homemaker says:

      @nightsky: I tried that. I’m on SSI and VESID, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, said I was unemployable, yet 3 doctors refuse to sign my medical release forms for my student loans. I don’t get enough SSI to pay them and I can’t work to earn enough to pay them. 17 years later and I’ve added almost $3000 interest to just one loan alone. Sallie Mae has gone after my father for payment for the other loan because he co-signed it. And one other loan has about $2500 interest alone. All 3 doctors told me similar things, they didn’t want to risk their license by signing the form, just in case I become enployable in the future. Well, it’s been 17 years. How much more future do you need guys? How much more interest should I add to my credit report?

  5. mbd says:

    1. Don’t sign it.

    2. Send the cease and desist, registered mail.

    3. After #2, ignore them until they send you an offer in writing that you can afford, or you are served notice that they are going to court for a judgement.

    4. If you are served notice of court action, not just a threat to do so but actual notice, you will need a lawyer. Don’t ignore any notice of actual court action. If you can’t afford a lawyer, contact the legal aid office in your community.

    My guess is they will eventually settle for a monthly amount you can afford.

    • tmlfan81 says:

      @mbd: Agreed.

      You have a payment obligation to NCO as they own this portion of your student loan debt. Start collecting records of your successful monthly payment history to NCO, and begin to document any correspondence between yourself and NCO. Let them make the move to seek judgment on the debt, if they do you can prove your hardship and your payment history. The tactics they are using now are just intended to scare you into paying more, but they will eventually be the foundation by which they could potentially move the case to formal legal proceedings and try to hose you.

      Keep it in the back of your mind that this is where it could possibly end up, but don’t let that cloud your judgment or keep you up at night. The best advice is that when you are taken to court by a creditor, ALWAYS appear. Otherwise, they get a default judgment. You automatically lose.

    • Optimistic Prime says:

      @mbd: I’d also try the Federal Student Loan Ombudsman, they helped me out a bit. [www.ombudsman.ed.gov]

  6. sleze69 says:

    She’s being pressured to sign a document with threats of what? More phone calls? Ouuuu. SCARY!

    Although it definately sounds there is shadiness going on here, the threat of my phone ringing doesn’t carry a lot of weight. Also, following Ben’s advice should end those SCARY phone calls anyway.

    • little stripes says:

      @sleze69: She is getting phone calls at her PLACE OF BUSINESS. Do you realize how unprofessional that looks to her BOSSES that provide her her paycheck? The sarcasm really is not needed.

      • Tiber says:

        @little stripes: I won’t disagree with you about it being unacceptable to call someone at work. However, if your boss looks down on you because you had the bad judgment to get sick, and other people are hassling you as a result, it might not be a bad idea to see if you can’t find a more friendly work environment once you are able.

        • little stripes says:

          @Tiber: …Because it’s SO easy to “just find a new job!” isn’t it? And she’s not already in debt, so quitting her job because of some harrassing phone calls TOTALLY makes sense.

          Are you kidding me? No, really, are you? I know that my place of business, which is rather relaxed and pretty understanding, wouldn’t particularly like me getting a ton of personal phone calls every day. It is unprofessional and takes away from your work.

          Your sarcasm was completely uncalled for and your reasoning still makes no sense whatsoever.

          • Feminist Whore says:

            @little stripes: Tiber wasn’t the poster who was “sarcastic”, that was sleze69. Tiber’s comment seemed quite friendly and sensible, and he didn’t say to quit the job immediately, he said to think about it when the OP is able.

            Even sleze69′s comment didn’t seem outta line to me, in that he was being sarcastic about the threat from FCO to call more :” they’re going to place her account back in collections and start harassing her even more than they are now (they’re already calling her daily at home and work)…”.

          • Tiber says:

            @little stripes: I was saying that any boss with an ounce of compassion would understand having financial difficulties due to medical problems. He or she would be more angry at the debt collectors for wasting her work time, since she obviously doesn’t *want* them to call. Any job with a boss that would get angry at the victim over that is probably going to be very stressful in the long term. I never advised quitting, and I never said to do anything right now, especially considering that her finances are already stretched thin. Also, you do know it’s possible to look around while still employed, don’t you? It should be done carefully, but it’s possible.

            Thanks for the backup alpha.

        • Red_Flag says:

          @Tiber: What economic reality do you live in? I’d love to apply for a work visa. Especially if all the businesses there let you take unlimited personal calls on company time!

  7. rshettle says:

    If I were in your shoes I would probably tell them to go pound sand. Aside from what Ben suggested, you should let them know that you plan to pay them back once you are able. Don’t sign anything unless you like the arrangement and NEVER give them electronic access to your checking account.

    If they don’t like that then invite them to sue you in court. If you’re as broke as you say you are then there’s no more money to go around, kind of like squeezing water out of a dried up sponge.

    Some of these debt collectors are pure evil but at the end of the day, the debt is still valid and you should make an honest effort to pay them back. You still have the means to pay this debt off so I wouldn’t even consider bankruptcy (not that it was even mentioned).

    Buckle down, cut your lifestyle down to nothing: no eating out, no buying useless junk, pack your own lunch and eat at home (rice & beans), no vacations, cut the cable bill, yadda yadda yadda… you get the picture.

    Best of luck.

    • little stripes says:

      Cut her lifestyle down to NOTHING? I’m all for cutting back, especially when you have a large debt, but cutting back to nothing will do nothing except cause you to be unhappy and depressed, which is counterproductive.

      She should cut her lifestyle down, but still think of herself sometimes too. It’s okay to eat out at your favorite Mexican Restaurant with friends once a month, debt or no debt. Really.

      • Anonymous says:

        @little stripes:

        I disagree little stripes. If you (not you specifically) are serious about getting your life back in order and taking care of your financial responsibilities…you would save money whenever and where ever you can (obviously within reason).

        Every once in a while is ok…but your average meal now at any restaurant is going to run you $15-$25…that does add up if you are going out “once a month.” You shouldn’t look at this as a small amount of money…because small amounts of money add up fast.

      • rshettle says:

        @little stripes: I never said it would be fun or easy. “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey.Lets face facts here, she’s up to her eyeballs in debt right now and will have to make a decision, do I want to sacrifice now and pay off this debt ASAP and move on with my life? …or do I want to drag this thing out for a few more months/years cause I love tacos? Once she’s debt free, she can eat all the tacos she wants.

        • little stripes says:

          @rshettle: It’s not a good idea to just stop your life completely because of some debt. Depression isn’t exactly cheap to treat, either. Notice I said “once a month” — you don’t want to stop your life completely. She’s got a LOOOOT of debt. She’s going to be stuck with it a LONG time. Sometimes it is, indeed, worth it to actually, you know, ENJOY life, debt or no debt. It’s not all about money.

          • Xerloq says:

            @little stripes: That is bass-ackward. You might as well tell a recovering alcoholic that they can have a shot once a month.

            You can get tremendous focus and accomplishment out of sacrificing to better yourself. It’s all about changing behavior.

            I spent some time in some of the worst slums in the world, and I haven’t ever met happier people.

            As long as you place your happiness in material possessions you’ll be depressed. Invite your friends over for some rice and beans and ask them to bring chips and salsa. You don’t need a Mexican restaurant.

        • dragonvpm says:

          @rshettle: To be fair, she ALSO has a chronic, apparently serious (or at least expensive) medical condition that is affecting her ability to pay back her debts.

          She also seems to have made a pretty good effort at dealing with her debts, arranging payments etc… and dealing with her medical condition so I think that your suggestion, while presumably well intentioned is probably off base. It seems like this person is doing her best to sort out her life, and advising her to go the monk route seems a bit cold blooded and pointless.

          The bill collector is the sleazeball here and if we should be giving advice to anyone it would be them. Medical problems are one of (if not THE) leading causes of bankruptcy in the US so I figure the fact that she’s hanging on and making payments on this debt despite getting harassed is indicative of how seriously she takes her responsibilities.

          She doesn’t need you, or any of us telling her how to deal with her problems and certainly not with the tone you took.

          • rshettle says:

            @dragonvpm: You are amazing if you can tell the “tone” of my words with the OP. Look, I’m not attempting to be harsh here and in fact I’m trying to help her out. If she (or you) don’t appreciate my suggestions then please feel free to ignore me. The OP requested help/suggestions and that’s exactly what I provided to the best of my ability.

            Before I go into a tirade I’ll just say this: There are many different ways the OP can handle this situation (and get herself out of debt) and it seems to me that most of the suggestions hold merit and give the OP something to think about. Depression was never mentioned by the OP in her post, and to assume that she will get depressed if she cuts back the frivilous parts of her life isn’t realistic. It all depends on the OP’s determination. She may like your approach better than mine which is fine by me.

            Regardless, I still wish her the best of luck.

            • dragonvpm says:

              @rshettle: The OP asked for help in figuring out what to do about her problems with that specific bill collector wrt their strong arm tactics getting her to sign a fraudulent affidavit.

              For all that either of us knows, she could be entirely debt free except for the student loans that she defaulted on and which she’s already making payments on.

              Without knowing any more details of what her situation is, I wouldn’t presume to tell her how to get out of debt, certainly not with an expensive medical condition that she’s dealing with especially if she wasn’t asking for advice in that area.

              However, I too wish her the best of luck and I hope her medical condition improves.

  8. Roycester says:

    [budhibbs.com]

    Couple notes – NCO can’t be trusted – and Student loans never ever go away. The usual avoidance tricks do not work on that type of loan.

  9. Pylon83 says:

    From the way this reads, NCO is the original creditor and thus not a 3rd Party Debt collector to whom the FDCPA applies.

  10. dwasifar says:

    Agreed that she should not sign it. Signing a document agreeing to do something she can’t do will only put her in a bigger bag of hurt. She’s already in arrears; signing will just put her in a worse position.

    The collector just wants to be higher on her payment priorities than her medications, or doesn’t believe that she can’t pay this amount, and is using threats to try to force that situation. If she signs the affidavit, they win. It’s a head game.

  11. boomer359 says:

    Get a lawyer now. Don’t wait for this to get any worse. The collector is violating the Collections Act and trying to force you to perjure yourself. You may have a cause of action damages, though I’m not sure what for exactly, so an attorney may be willing to represent you for a contingency. Even if you have to pay for it, though, it’s worth the expense to protect your rights.

  12. BeeBoo says:

    If the company goes out of business somebody else will buy your loan and start over collecting it. Since you are paying it monthly, your loan is valuable. If you stop paying it for a year it will be worth pennies on the dollar.

    This site seems to have some good info and suggest adding a phrase to the basic “do not communicate” letter regarding a violation being harassment: [www.larcc.org]

    It is also important to distinguish between a creditor and a collection agency in these situations and this site discusses some of the differences.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Contact the government agency that backed the loan in the first place so that they are aware of what the collection agency with whom they have a contract is up to. Ask NCO to send you the document via USPS and forward a copy to the government agency and ask them if NCO is authorized to insist that defaulted borrowers sign such a document and make it plain that you have been paying for over two years without your loan being rehabilitated. It sounds to me like NCO is trying to make a side deal outside the parameters of the contract they have with the government agency. Your loan should have been rehabilitated months ago.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have experience wiht this company inparticluar. They are very swarmy. They tried to collect a “Zombie Debt” from me. They called up to 10 times a day and tried calling me at work until I informed them they can’t call a healthcare facility to collect a debt (I work in a hospital). They tried to bully my mother inot paying the debt(They called a old number I had when living with her, MANY years ago) and gave her my information, which is illegal since I am WAY over 18 and tried to tell her she was responsible since she is the onyl direct relative. I have filed a complant with the BBB. They are dishonest and try to play you, don’t fall for it.

  15. Beerad says:

    DON’T SIGN IT! If you’re pretty sure that you can’t meet the obligation (which it sounds like; being homeless and off your meds in order to bump up loan payments is probably not a good plan), then all you’d be doing is setting yourself for additional screwing once they come back and wave the now-violated signed agreement in your face.

    It’s probably legal to try and get you to sign it; no idea what they can legitimately do if you refuse. If the company goes out of business, I suspect some other company will just buy up the debt and continue collecting on it.

    Personally I wouldn’t stop paying — you want to show that you’re trying to pay off the debt in good faith, even if you can’t pay as much as they want. I second the advice to seek some free credit counseling about how you should handle these choads and the rehabilitation issue.

  16. Sven.T.Sexgore says:

    I’d call the agency. Request to speak to a supervisor and lay out option C logically.

    It is impossible for me to pay what you are asking. I am happy to continue paying you what I can afford or you can place it in collections and receive no further funds from me. With the first option we both get what we want if not the exact amounts.

    In the second we both lose completely. Script-monkeys might not have any option but to keep badgering you with this ‘procedure’ but generally the next tier up can make actual intelligent decisions that benefit the company. If not keep escalating (in terms of requests not anger since the term is used for both in call centers) until you reach a tier that can. I know most call centers have the blinders on but you can usually find some level that can realize what is best for the company: smaller payments than they might like versus no money at all.

  17. bohemian says:

    I had the displeasure of having my last outstanding loan end up with these people. They are the worst of the worst as far as student loan collections and they violated the FDCPA multiple times in less than a week. They do not own your loan they are only a third party collector. Send them a cease and desist and stop dealing with them. Your loan will eventually go back to the dept of ED or to another collection agency working for the actual debt owner. Hopefully the next agency is a bit more honest. You should contact the dept of ED right away and make sure they have record of your payments and talk to them directly about rehabbing your loan.

    These collection agencies working for the dept of ED are horrible but they also are not anything more than someone working on behalf of the actual debt owner. I ran this gamut for years while trying to pay down what was left on an old student loan. The collection agencies actually make things worse. Sending them a cease and desist and working directly with the dept of ED makes more sense. You can also talk to the Ombudsman for the dept of ED if your having issues with your loan and collectors.

    I got taken down the same kind of games by Pioneer Recovery at one point. Coooperating actually made my situation worse than if I had refused to. The dept of ED won’t refuse money if you send them payments directly and last I contacted them they were able to work out deals with you directly on repayments. The collection agencies are not mandatory. My suggestion is to refuse to deal with them.

  18. Skellbasher says:

    I would not sign this, nor anything from NCO.

    This is a well known tactic from NCO, and very dishonest. They’re basically trying to increase their cut of what they get from collecting on your loan.

    The best thing you can do is to get NCO out of the way. Most likely, NCO does not OWN your loan, they’re just collecting on behalf of the original issuer. I’m fairly certain that the government never sells student loan paper; they don’t have to. If you completely default, they just garnish your wages and move on.

    I would send the cease contact letter that Ben posted. Then, I would get in touch with the original loan issuer. Explain your situation, and be sure to include the payment history that shows you have been continuing to pay on the loan. Also be sure to mention the scheme that NCO is trying to pull.

    Most SL issuers allow for graduated or extended repayment schedules depending on circumstances. I have had loans with multiple different banks over the years, (consolidated quite a lot over the years to take advantage of interest rates) and I’ve found most to be quite flexible, and willing to work with you.

    If all goes well, your loan issuer will pull your account away from NCO, and you will no longer have to deal with their extortionist and illegal tactics.

    Good luck!

  19. Gopher bond says:

    I am so so glad (now. then, it sucked!) I lived in a single room hovel with a shared bathroom for 3 years while aggressively paying off my student loans. This is exactly what I feared, that some emergency would come up and put me in a hole so deep it’d seem impossible to escape.

  20. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    “2. What happens if the company goes out of business?”

    Most likely outcome is that the debt is resold to someone else.

  21. katylostherart says:

    she should definitely not sign it. my friend had a problem like this. she got into a sticky situation with money and the company doing collections wanted her to sign a note saying she’d pay $250/mo even though she only makes $1000. she called me (and my mom) before signing it and basically if a judge wouldn’t hold up that amount don’t sign it. talk to a lawyer, but really, if they try to take you to court over it a judge will not make you pay more than you can afford. don’t stop making your payments and keep receipts on EVERY payment. i recommend doing this with postal money orders even, that way they don’t have access to your bank account numbers and you get receipts from a federal institution.

    i had to do this as well. a collection agency wanted me to pay far more than i could afford on a valid debt so i just kept paying my $50/mo and never signed anything they sent me but got everything they promised in writing.

    bottom line is, if a court of law would say a payment is excessive, they can’t make you pay it.

    • CRSpartan01 says:

      @katylostherart: That’s kinda the general rule for contracts in general. Still, don’t sign anything. You have nothing to lose by not signing it, and by signing it, you might (falsely) make them think that you aren’t judgment proof and assuming they have the standing, they might try to sue you.

      But IANAL… yet.

  22. iMike says:

    There’s no reason for her to sign anything at all. And so she shouldn’t.

    And she should head over to creditboards.com and ask for advice. The first thing they’ll ask is what kind of loan (loans) this (these) are (government or private).

  23. DidSomeoneSayCookie? says:

    I had a debt collection agency calling about 6 times a day until my insurance paid on an ambulance bill a few years ago. I found out I could insist on only mail contact and told them so. So, they started calling and hanging up, on the same schedule. Hopefully there is a special place in hell for people paid to harass others for a third party. It was horrible.

  24. LawyerontheDL says:

    I don’t know where the term “affidavit” comes in, but it sounds to me like NCO wants her to sign either a forebearance agreement – whereby they agree to not collect on the loan as long as she makes certain payments – or they want a confession of judgment. Either way, by signing the document, she isn’t perjuring herself, but she is modifying her current contract and will be bound by it.

    Unfortunately, student loans generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and will not be forgiven by the lenders for that reason. Therefore, she should continue paying what she is able to pay. She may also want to contact the original lender and see if they still hold the note. They may be able to help her.

  25. I'm a tweeple too! says:

    DO NOT SIGN, and ask for proof of debt. This sounds like a debt attorney who bought debt bulk (yes they can do that.) They’re trying to get you to acknowledge your debt then they’ll turn around and use that as proof of debt should you default on the “agreement.”

    DO NOT SIGN, if they cannot give you proof of debt or hedge use the advice above and report them. If they cannot give you proof of debt they cannot collect on it from you or anyone else.

    (I’m not a bankruptcy attorney but I asked a friend of mine who is one)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Don’t sign anything. Don’t agree to anything with this scum. They can’t do anything to you other than sue you, which they probably won’t do. Don’t be threatened by them. Don’t even answer the phone when they call. I created an ‘ignore’ contact and add their number to it.

  27. Tank says:

    There are a couple issues with the advice given by Ben.

    1) You can verbally instruct a collector to not phone you at work, but a verbal statement does not prevent them from phoning you at home, only a written communication does.

    2) A cease & desist letter leave the collector no other option but to sue you. A collector is allowed one more communication with you to inform you of their intent, so even after you send it, prepare for at least one more call. You can, on the other hand, demand they cease communications by phone and only communicate by mail. This way, they are still able to send you dunning notices, but can’t blow up your phone with harassing calls.

  28. Elvisisdead says:

    What about a consolidation loan to get everything under one servicer?

  29. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    NCO calls us… I can’t get them to stop. Not because we owe them money. I don’t know HOW they did this, but they associated the previous owners name with OUR phone number, which was a brand new number on this property, it wasn’t the previous owner’s number.

    Anyone know how they did this? I figured they looked up our address and our phone number came up as well – but its under a different name. No matter what we tells these jerks, nothing takes. I’ve reported them many times, still no relief.

    Any suggestions?

  30. NTC-Brendan says:

    A Few things:

    SIGN NOTHING! These people are not your friends, they are not your priest/confessor nor are they your buddy and are they are certainly not trying to help you. Signing anything puts you in a very compromising and (more) actionable position. Colossally bad idea.

    I would be interested in unpacking this a bit further. Should you want some (free) assistance, advice, etc. you may send me a private message here and we can get communicating.

    You are **NOT** screwed and you can work through this without a Debt CONsolidation loan, bankruptcy or signing your life away. A little hope and some hard work can get your through this issue. Don’t give up!

    Brendan

  31. balthisar says:

    LOL. I love how she says, “Guess they took on too many toxic debts… seems to be an epidemic!”

    She’s one of these toxic debts!

    • Wit says:

      @balthisar: No she’s not. She’s been making payments for 27 months now. There is a strong probability that she will repay the debt over time, and in the mean time the debt holder has made more on her in interest.

      This is a case of NCO getting greedy and trying to increase their own cut by strong-arming her to pay more now. I agree with the above commenters that it doesn’t sound like they own the debt outright, so I’d try to track down the original creditor and deal with them.

      • balthisar says:

        @Wit: She’s been paying, but not to the original terms. Remember, she defaulted, which is why she’s in this mess. It’s great, fantastic, that she’s paying it back, and mistreatment by the debt collector isn’t something that’s merited. She’s doing the right things; they’re not. We all agree.

        All of that, though, doesn’t negate the fact that her original default contributes to the “toxic debts.”

        This isn’t “blame the consumer” — it is pointing out how people often don’t think about how they contribute to the problem in the first place. This agency wouldn’t even exist if not for people like her (or me in my youth).

        • Wit says:

          @balthisar: Saying people don’t think about how they contribute to the problem is one thing, but in your initial post you said she IS one of the toxic debts. ‘Toxic debt’ initially referred to the corporate debt obligations backed by mortgage assets (secured debts) which subsequently lost their value (or never had much in the first place). In terms of likelihood of collection, these CDOs never had much real value in the first place, but market forces led them to be overvalued.

          The OP’s situation is not analogous as far as I can see. Even if she did default for a time when she got sick, because it’s a student loan, it’s unlikely she would/could ever default entirely. Therefore, there’s still a value to that interest, and it is extremely unlikely that NCO overpaid for that interest if it turns out that it does own the debt. More than likely, they would have gotten a deal on it because of her earlier default. People in the OP’s situation didn’t cause our financial meltdown, so it’s not fair to call her a toxic debt.

  32. jazzy1224 says:

    Sarah, I had to deal with NCO about 5 years ago and they are about as brutal as they come. Do not under any circumstance sign anything. They will lie, cheat and use any tactics they can to get you to send more money. At one point they told me I should expect the police to come and arrest me, I told them, I would be waiting. They never came. Either way, they are ruthless, and you should do exactly what the advisers from Consumerist are telling, accept no further phone calls and only speak with them via snail mail. Don’t worry, as long as you are paying, you have nothing to worry about. Just make sure you keep a record of every payment sent. Another person mentioned about deferment of student loans, that is absolutely true under medical hardship. Contact your loan providers. If you don’t get someone who will help you on the first try, keep trying. You might have to work at it and you should also contact your doctor, who can give you some paperwork that will confirm that for the Student Loan company. You should be able to get about 6 months out of them. It will extend those payments longer, but, in that time you should really take that extra money and put it towards your NCO payment. Just keep track of every additional payment. Don’t believe anything NCO tells you.

  33. yzerman says:

    Don’t sign it and tell them to F off. Seriously debt collection agencies should try to be more understanding and work with people.

    BTW the original poster screwed up. You should have put your loans into deferral instead of ignoring them. You wouldn’t have any of these issues if you wouldn’t have ignored you obligation.

  34. foodporncess says:

    Say exactly what this article tells you to say, send that exact letter by certified mail (make sure you get a non PO mailing address and if possible, a person’s name and phone number/extension to put on the letter). Keep a written record of all times of calls and dates, person’s name, extension or ID number.

    Once you’ve done this, DO NOT sign ANYTHING. Keep paying according to your current arrangement and know that you are doing the right thing. Absolutely do not sign this affidavit.

    Once you’ve done that, you might want to contact a non-profit like Consumer Credit Counseling Services and see what else you can do and how they might be able to help you get the evil NCO Financial to STFU. I’ve had to deal with them on other issues before and have had to send letters once a year regarding an account I paid in full years ago to the original issuer. NCO is the devil.

  35. Stanwell says:

    I work in collections for a major mortgage lender. When someone does this where i work while trying to set up a customer repayment plan, they call it “falsifying information” and usually escort you permanently out of the building. I doubt they would come down so hard if there weren’t serious regulatory and legal consequences…fraud, maybe?

  36. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    A few points:

    NCO is one of the most unsavory, untrustworthy, and sleaziest collection companies in the country. they will use every disgusting tactic they can, and will push the legal limits constantly.

    If you sign that affadavit, they WILL use it against you, and will make your life even more miserable. And if you try to claim later that it wasn’t true, you face the possibility of perjury or swearing a false statement.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll give you some personal advice;

    1) Do not sign anything except the letter you send them via certified mail telling them that all contact with you must be in writing.

    2) Continue to make a good faith effort to pay off the debt. Pay the money to the actual owner of the debt – probably the original creditor. You can find this out by asking the original creditor (NOT NCO – in my opinion, they will lie). Use checks, as cancelled checks are proof of payment.

    3) Document every call, keep every piece of written correspondence they send, and copies of every piece you send. Send everything certified mail, keep the proof of delivery.

    4) If you are tempted to sign anything they give/send you, think long and hard, and perhaps get pro legal advice. NCO is extremely sleazy

    DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING NCO SAYS. They are an extremely aggressive collector and will say almost anything to get money from you.

    Most importantly, know your rights under the FDCPA. Deal with them in a fair, aboveboard, and honest fashion, and don;t be afraid to force them to treat you the same way.

  37. Allen Harkleroad says:

    Contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of consumer protection (Penn Attorney General) 717-787-9707, NCO Group is under a voluntary compliance order and this may be a violation of that order. Also NCO has a VP of Legal Compliance that handles abuse complaints. Her name is Lisa Signore (P) 215-442-8315 or (888) 495-8352 Lisa.Signore@ncogroup.com

    I know as I have had to deal with NCO Group myself. Also consider filing a BBB complaint against NCO.

  38. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    disclaimer: i work for a pharmaceutical company and part of my job is helping people who take our medicine find financial assistance with high copays.

    my [actual, professional, for once] advice: call the manufacturer of the medication and see what they suggest for finding help. they might have an in-house program for helping people find aid. they might know who to refer you to.

    if you have a rare condition, i would usually suggest NORD [national organization for rare disorders] but they just sent out letters saying they don’t have enough donations and even previously approved cases are out of luck.

    check with any associations related to your illness, there might be local or national funding they know of.

    some pharmacies have assistance programs too or know of ways for you to get help paying for the meds.

    in the case of my company, your income would be well within the acceptable guidelines for getting your medication copay almost completely covered by us, but every company/organization has different guidelines and limitations.

    and best of luck to you!

    • grumpygirl says:

      @catastrophegirl:
      I work for a health clinic and I second what catastrophegirl advises. The only problem is that the applications are a PITA to manage (from a doctor office perspective, 10 different apps., etc.) and sometimes clinics just won’t get involved with the scholarship programs.

      Still, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @grumpygirl: oh yeah, i’ve heard of people giving up on some of the applications because they are like book length. but depending on your copay and the need you have for the meds, it might be worth it.

  39. noscamsplease says:

    i’ve dealt with NCO regarding my student loans in the past, and there’s a reason they have thousands of complaints against them. you have many options, one of which is to request the Rehabilitation Program for Federally guaranteed Student Loans. They will pretend they’ve never heard of this, or that you are not eligible. THEY ARE LYING. The program is great and gives you an opportunity to pay what you can afford (they will request income and expense information from you). Once you make 9-12 (depends on the type of loan) on time, consecutive payments, the loan will be OUT of defualt, the collections fees and penalties will be dropped, and the best part, ALL OF THE NEGATIVE INFORMATION REPORTED TO THE CREDIT BUREAUS WILL BE REMOVED FROM YOUR FILES. do whatever you need to do to push to have your loan rehabbed. they will fight you, but at the end of the day, it’s your federal guaranteed right.

    • noscamsplease says:

      @noscamsplease: sorry, i scanned your post the first time. if you’ve made 27 payments to nco, your loan should have been rehabbed a very long time ago. nco is clearly lying to you about something. call the dept of education directly and speak to someone there, and if that doesn’t work, get in touch with the federal loan ombudsman. nco is a terrible company, and you should not believe anything they tell you. trust me, they lied to me for almost a year before i called in the big guns to intervene.

  40. morganlh85 says:

    I’m wondering why OP didn’t file for forbearance while she was unable to pay?

    • Wit says:

      @morganlh85: A guess? She was having serious health problems, she felt like her life was in over her head or spiraling out of control and she was trying to focus on getting by one day at a time. Maybe she was incapable of taking care of her affairs, for either medical or related psychological reasons. Depression often comes hand in hand with serious medical issues. It’s easy to sit back from a comfortable distance and say: “why didn’t you do x” but clear thinking isn’t exactly the easiest when you’re in that sort of position.

  41. noscamsplease says:

    get this, NCO charges an $8 fee for “accepting payment on a loan.” every month i have to pay them an additional $8 so they will “accept my payment.”

    • Wit says:

      @noscamsplease: Are we sure that’s legal?

      • noscamsplease says:

        @Wit: who knows, but i fought so long and hard to get them to even rehab the loan (my federal right with a federally guaranteed loan) i just wanted to start the rehab already. they didn’t tell me about that “fee” until i had my checkbook out and was giving them my account number. they very slyly slipped it in by saying “you’ll see two deductions from your checking account every month, one for your payment, and another one for our fee for accepting your payment.” i tried to fight it, but they just said my credit was becoming more and more trashed the longer i waited to join the rehab program and if i really wanted to fight over this for another six months. at the end of the day, not trashing my credit further won, and they walked away with an additional $96 on top of the 30% of my payment they were taking for collection fees.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Hi, this is Sarah– I wrote the letter above.

    Thanks for the comments– this is incredibly helpful! I’m relieved to know that there is some recourse, and I especially appreciate the scripts, links and phone numbers.

    FYI, my condition is Crohn’s disease. I did ask for disability paperwork, but the papers clearly state that the exception applies to “total and permanent disability” only, and I’m working so that’s not me.

    NCO is a third party debt collection agency– the original loan was with American Education Services.

    As for austerity measures– I’ve already given up my car, moved to a more affordable city, taken a second job and stopped doing any traveling or going out. I buy shoes once a year. I don’t think I can do any more cutting back without giving up food altogether.

    As for “blame the consumer”– perhaps the question we should really be asking is why people who work hard at multiple jobs their entire lives can’t get medical care or an education without being forced into massive debt, and why is our entire financial system dependent on that debt?

    Thanks for the support. These companies are awful– they actually call you names. One told me that if I wind up in the hospital again, they’ll garnish my disability, and said that “I’d repossess your education if I could.” Classy. So yeah, hearing from others who’ve taken them on really means a lot to me. Thank you.

    • Feminist Whore says:

      @ZionMaguire said: perhaps the question we should really be asking is why people who work hard at multiple jobs their entire lives can’t get medical care or an education without being forced into massive debt, and why is our entire financial system dependent on that debt?

      well said :)

      • shannanigans slash pterodactyl says:

        @alphafemale: yeah, bravo!

        i’ve dealt w/ NCO before, and they’ve given me the whole “we will send the police to arrest you” bull. i just found these ridiculous, empty threats funny. when i laughed at them they stopped calling…

        “I’d repossess your education if I could.” LOL. sorry NCO, you can’t do that – or any of the other crap that you threaten to.

  43. Anonymous says:

    NCO is a zombie debt collector that will use scare tactics to collect. I suggest sending the certified letter and refuse to sign anything that could be construed as a legal document. If this is a student loan however they may be able to persue garnishments. It would be in your best interest to try an contact the original lender to try and work out a payment plan that you can afford

  44. SugarMag says:

    My auto insurance company charges me a $15 fee to process my payment. #1 reason I’m switching. I dont care if they are a tiny bit cheaper…this fee really chaps my arse.

  45. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    DO NOT SIGN THE CEASE AND DESIST LETTER!!!

    Signatures in adversarial collection situations have a tendency to “migrate” to documents that were not originally signed. In this case, since they’re badgering her to sign something in the first place…just type the letter and the envelope and don’t sign anything!

  46. civicmon says:

    She needs to find out if the original debt was charged-off. If that’s the case, then NCO bought it at pennies on the dollar and they’re trying to collect.

    Send them a limited cease and desist letter, they can contact you only in writing.

    There’s no affidavid that you have to sign (or sign anything, to my knowledge) as the Sallie Mae rehab is only on federally-backed loans and it’s based on 12 months of consecutive payments.

    Long story short: Don’t sign anything. Determine who owns the debt, such as if NCO bought the debt, or the original servicing group owns it. Write a cease/desist letter to only communicate by mail and indeed see how much you owe and if usury laws have been broken. If so, sue.

  47. IndyJaws says:

    I’m posting this for my wife – she has experience in this specific area (but doesn’t have a logon at Consumerist):

    The main thing is that this person needs to go back to the owner of the loan. The collection agency works for someone, getting that number and calling that group will help. Also, it appears they have 2 loans that they are paying on, they need to discuss this with the owner to see if they can consolidate into a more manageable amount.

    Agencies are paid based off payments they receive, but they are paid incentive to get a rehabilitation. It is a sliding scale, so for example, if a person made a payment straight out they would get one % of that payment, a rehab a larger percentage. The agency wants to get her to finish the deal so they can get paid. Calling the owner, she may find out that rehab is not her best option. However, if she is sick, rehab may be in her best bet. A rehab essentially takes the loan out of default and back into good status. If she does that, she will be eligible for all the perks of the program, including deferments for illness and the ability to have an income sensitive payment plan put on the loan.

    Bottom line, she is not going to get the best option for her from the agency. She needs to contact the owner to find out that. She can also get that info on their website. To find her owner, she can ask the agency or look at her paperwork.

  48. J.Heck says:

    NCO Financial is hounding me too. They keep trying to tell me that there’s absolutely no way I can pay the originating company what I owe them now that they have it, even though the company is in the process of re-submitting my claims to my insurance (which will pay it off), and the original company had my wrong last name, which is why I never got any of their bills in the first place (I’ve been married for over a year now!). NCO Financial just wants me to pay them and they think I have no idea what I’m doing. Too bad they’re not going to see a single dime from me (but the original company will be paid in full!)!

  49. AgentTuttle says:

    Ain’t America great? The land of opportunity where an education is not provided, but it’s a privilege unless you join the armed forces to fight, kill and maybe die. Where our FOR profit health “care” system can bankrupt you. Have both a student loan and a health problem and – WOW, you’re fucked. We’re the only industrialized country that will allow that.

    • coren says:

      @AgentTuttle: You could always kill your parents, get knocked up (assuming you have the right equipment), marry someone for the hell of it, or wait five years – then the government likes you and gives you much more money.

  50. Ezra Ekman says:

    Debt collectors are, in general, unfortunately a nasty group of folks. They make money by buying debts from companies that have written them off as unrecoverable, but that the collectors think they will be able to recover anyway. How to they recover them? By scaring people into believing that they face dire consequences if they don’t pay… or by forcing people into promises to pay, which can then be used against them. And the latter tactic is what they are currently using on you.

    To answer your questions:

    1. No, it’s not legal. Or at least, it’s not legally required for you to sign it. They can *ask* you to sign anything they want (though they can’t threaten you if you don’t, and that’s what makes it illegal), but you don’t have to agree to sign it. If you had an agreement with NCO Financial to pay X amount and they want to change it to Y amount, unless that agreement allows them to without your approval, they can “say” anything they want… but it doesn’t make it so. Their company is in trouble? *chokes on laughter* That’s all the more reason NOT to do it! Tell them that you’re sorry that they are having financial troubles, but that they are *their* troubles, not yours.

    2. What happens if the company goes out of business?

    If NCO financial goes out of business, your loan will probably be sold to another collection agency as they close up shop.

    3. Don’t sign the document. Keep taking your medication. Pay your rent. Continue making regular payments on the loan if you already have an agreement in place. In addition:

    DON’T TAKE THEIR CALLS ANY MORE. Send them a letter via certified mail that tells them to immediately cease and desist any and all phone contact. Make it explicitly clear that you ONLY wish to be contacted in writing from now on, and that any further phone contact will be a knowing and willful violation of the Fair Debt Collections Act. Then call your phone company and have them put a trap or a trace on the line. Tell the phone company that you have been receiving harassing calls from someone, and that you need to have them trace it. (Phone companies will sometimes offer two services: a trap and a trace One is free and doesn’t last as long, and the other lasts longer but costs a couple of dollars. Both require two calls from the same number within the period of time that they remain active, and you do write down the date/time they took place and report them to the phone company, who in turn forwards the info to the police, who is who you will have to get it from. Phone companies don’t release the info direct to the public. And yes, cell phone companies can do this as well.) This won’t work for your work phone (unless it’s in your name), but that’s why you’re using certified mail to send the letter – you can prove you sent it. You may also wish to have it notarized, but that may be overkill. (And costs $20-30.)

    Also make it clear in your letter to NCO that you can either pay for your medication and the current amount that you are paying them, but not more. If they require more, it will require you to stop medical treatment, which would be either debilitating or life-threatening, whichever is applicable. Tell them that while you wish to continue taking care of your debt, you do not wish to endanger your own life. Ask them why they are suddenly pressuring you to change the terms of a payment program that you have been on for three years.

    If you’re making payments that are a set amount that you’ve already had an agreement with them to make, your agreement was a contract. Make sure you note that this agreement is already in place, and has been so for 27 months (as you described). If you’ve been paying on time for that entire time (or at least for most of it), I would also point that out. In other words, you’ve been abiding by the terms of the agreement as they pertain to you for the last three years, and that their attempts to pressure you to change it are both unethical and illegal.

    There are certain rights you can’t sign away, and if the law states that the loan should have been able to rehabilitate the loan by now, they cannot, to my knowledge, stop you from doing so. I’m unfamiliar with that process, but what I’ve read leads me to believe that you would rehabilitate the loan from the original lender, cutting NCO out of the loop. If so, it makes sense that NCO wouldn’t want you to do so, and that might be worth looking into. One thing you should consider is speaking to a credit specialist. Not one of the ones that advertise on late night TV, but one that is offered as a free service through a local credit union. They can often make some great suggestion that many of us aren’t aware of.

    As several other posters have noted, NCO is well-known for their scare tactics and violating the Fair Debt Collections Act. I myself had a run-in with them when Pacific Bell (now AT&T) incorrectly reported a 5-year old phone bill as past due, and I was amazed at some of the things NCO did before I got it straightened out. Calls at all hours of the day (7pm-10pm, which is a violation), threats of legal action, and so on. They only stopped when I made it clear that I knew my rights and was setting them up to be caught if they continued.

    If they *do* continue, just say to them that you have already notified them via certified mail they were to cease and desist all phone contact, and that any further phone contact is harassment and will be reported to the FTC and Attorney General, then hang-up. If they call back, it will all show up in the call trace, and you should make good on that threat. Another reason not to take their calls is that anything that gets said over the phone, unless you’re recording the call, is useless to you. They can claim you said whatever they want, and you can’t prove anything. This means you can either a] buy a voice recorder ($40-50 and up) and a headset recording device ($25-30 from Radio Shack) and record each of their calls as you get them, or b] just stop taking their calls and send them responses via certified mail, which is what you really should be doing anyway, or c] both.

    A note about long-term effects: Some people have noted that if you stop paying your loan, it won’t be worth as much. This is true, but can have negative effects on your credit, as it can be reported as being freshly delinquent. (Newly-reported negative credit or charge-offs lowers your score more than almost anything else.) Also, since it’s a student loan, there may be legal ramifications that I’m not aware of for stopping paymens on it, and you should look into before making that decision. If you can afford to keep paying it as you are, and you want to continue doing so, staying the course is probably your best bet.

    Good luck!

  51. womynist says:

    NCO Financial is the WORST debt collector ever. 3 years ago I disputed a debt for a gas bill that was not mine. The 3 major credit bureaus investigated the matter, deemed the account to be erroneous, and removed it from all 3 of my reports. Then last month, I receive a bill from NCO Financial saying that I’m liable for this $600 bill from the same gas company I never did business with. NCO is in the business of digging up Zombie Debt and trying to get you to pay on it. I would suggest contacting Consumer Credit Counseling Services (non-profit) and speaking to a credit counselor about your options.

  52. Anonymous says:

    If they’re still calling and hanging up just to harass you, there’s a device called “Person-To-Person® console” that costs about $100 and will filter whatever you want out so it just never makes it to your phone, never rings, nothing. FANTASTIC for this.

  53. erratapage says:

    Okay… here’s my student loan story from a long time ago. I went into default after losing my job a few years ago. The student loan people would call me. I’d ask for a statement of amounts owing. They would say things like they could only give me that information if I agreed to pay the entire amount due within 72 hours. They would call me names. I would yell at them.

    Finally, they suggested I get on a loan redemption program. I agreed to look at the paperwork. I started paying the amount due under the redemption program, but refused to sign the paperwork, because it would have added 25% to my principle. They weren’t happy, but they didn’t do anything, because they were getting money regularly.

    At that time, no one I talked to knew anything about the law of student loan collections. I’m pretty sure that some of the collectors I talked to broke the law.

    Ultimately, I paid off the entire amount due (less the 25% principle enlargement) with my share of the real estate bubble. It all worked out in the end. Your mileage may vary.

  54. coren says:

    I am so glad I am not only debt free coming out of school (whenever they send the damn diploma) but that I got a mix of scholarships, fin aid, and a decent college job so that I’m coming out of school with a sizable chunk of change in the bank, and a guaranteed job that pays the bills (barely) until I can find a real job. I think the ten grand I saved up in school is gonna be used for a house down payment!

    When it says she has to pay 335 for 9 months, I assume this is to get her out of default on that loan? I don’t really understand how student loans (or loans in general) work when they get to this stage.

  55. kwsventures says:

    Take personal responsibility by paying your bills on time. Then nobody will call and “bother” you because YOU owe them money. Oops. That was easy.

    • Feminist Whore says:

      @kwsventures: I can tell you are a huge douchebag because just reading your comment made my cunt start smelling like roses.

      • Allen Harkleroad says:

        @alphafemale: LOL, good one. I guess some people don’t understand the meaning of unavoidable financial difficulties. kwsventures probably works for a DC.

        • Feminist Whore says:

          @Allen Harkleroad: Thanks, I wasn’t sure if using the c-word was going too far, but really any other word wouldn’t have been the same.

          Judging from previous comments, I have to give kwsventures credit for at least being consistent with his douchebaggery.

  56. nygenxer says:

    Don’t sign anything!!!

    Fuck NCO. They are a corporate parasite cut the same grotesque cloth as Halliburton and the Federal Reserve.

  57. Anonymous says:

    The Education’s Dept. Direct Loans now hires outside collection agencies to collect overdue balances on their federal loans. So once the overdue balance is collected the loan switches back the the Direct Loan offices. So I suggest finding out if this is the case with NCO and if it is, you should contact the Direct Loan offices directly.

  58. cottercutie says:

    Student loans are a horse of a different color when it comes to debt collection.

    First off, they are governed by the Higher Education Act
    [www.ed.gov] not the FDCPA.

    Secondly, they can AND WILL garnish your wages and tax refunds without having to obtain a judgement first like other creditors do.

    Third, you have the right to “rehab” your loans which will help you so that after 9 consecutive, on time payments it will remove the loan from default.

    Consolidation may also be an option to lower the monthly payment and interest rate.

    Sarah should have requested a deferment/forebearance for the time(s) she was unable to repay her normal loan amounts.

    More info regarding student loans, default and rehab can be found here

    [creditboards.com]

  59. unpolloloco says:

    Why you should only get student loans if you will be making more than enough to pay it back right out of college. 100k in loans isn’t a problem if you’re making 200k. 40k of loans is a problem if you’re making 40k

  60. junip says:

    I had the misfortune of having a hospital bill go to NCO while I was in college and very broke. I was lucky that my boyfriend was able to give me the remainder of the amount I owed to pay the debt, but trying to get documentation from them of WHEN I repaid the debt in full was impossible. I spent 2 weeks and many hours calling them, being bounced from person to person because they couldn’t find my record. When they finally sent me some documentation it was an undated letter that just said “this debt has been paid in full.”
    It was no help in getting the status of the loan fixed on one of my credit reports. They had the date of repayment about 2 years later than it actually happened. I ended up giving up. :/

  61. mdovell says:

    Having worked collections for awhile a few times let me say a few things.

    1) I have NEVER ever heard of using an affidavit. This is NOT legal. It might be breaking the FDCPA

    2) Technically yes as long as there is a debt you can still be contacted, even if on a plan…UNLESS you simply sign a letter and clearly write that it is to be a “cease and desist letter”

    3) this will end all communications except for a confirmation.

    4) if a company goes under it will sell the debt to someone else.

  62. tedyc03 says:

    Never ever sign a document in bad faith. Period.

  63. rainbowsandkittens says:

    It’s terrible that a medical condition can de-rail someone’s life like this. Here she is, education complete and ready to be a productive member of society, and our shit for brains ass backwards health care crisis in this country forces her to have to choose between paying for medical care/drugs, having a roof over her head/eating or paying back loans. While I believe that everyone should honor their debts, the last thing I would do is live in a cardboard box or forgo my meds just so these bozos we keep seeing on the news can pad their $300m golden parachutes. America is a great country, but you simply can’t afford to get sick here. It’s terrible.

  64. wickedpixel says:

    consolidate your loan with another lender and be rid of them.

  65. HalbertCabatan says:

    Sarah, you need to call Direct Loans ASAP and have them send you paperwork to refinance your loan and take it out of default. I used to be a bill collector for student loans and this will work for you! You don’t even need to deal with that stupid NCO anymore. I used to hate dealing with them on a “professional” level. Your interest rate will go down and once your loan is finished then you can have your access to deferments back and can take advantage of those benefits. It usually only takes about 45 to 60 days for the process to complete and then things will be much easier. Go to http://www.dl.ed.gov and check it out.

  66. doomtop says:

    Firstly, do not sign anything.

    Secondly, be careful with that cease and desist. The way it is written in the article is a cease and desist of ALL communication regarding the debt. The problem with this is that it doesn’t just stop them from calling you, it stops them completely and essentially forces them to sue you.

  67. arkaycee says:

    Even though she is currently “on record” as saying she can’t afford the requested amount, an affidavit would be a more recent “on record” saying you can. Absolutely no upside to her for signing it, and lots and lots of ammo for them in court, where they could say “see? In January {or whenever} she said she could not pay, but in November she said she could.” Also, an affidavit is a sworn statement, not just any old statement.

  68. kwsventures says:

    A lot of deadbeats making excuses for not paying debts. How would you like it if someone owed you money and they stiffed you? Doesn’t feel good.

  69. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Hey, I work in collections and any company whether it’s the original lender or a third party company they HAVE TO STOP CALLING YOUR WORK. Either you or any employee can advise the company that you cannot get calls at work. No there does’nt have to be anything in writing. Period!

  70. GoWest says:

    I just had to respond to this one. I’ve been in this situation with NCO Financial on a student loan. NEVER deal with a collection agency on a federal student loan. They’re worse than new cars salesmen and will tell every lie in the book to get you in a corner. You’ve got much better several options. First, inform NCO Financial to stop all communications under the FDCPA via certified letter, return receipt requested. Keep that return receipt. They’re a third party, not the original lender, and this will work. If they continue to contact you, get a witness to the call, then file suit in small claims court and pick up some money for that big violation to help you with your debt payments.

    Next, figure out your plan forward. You’ve got several options.

    1. Federal student loans are extremely difficult to discharge in a bankruptcy, but one major exception is for medical reasons. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer and find out if you might qualify. Your initial discussion with any lawyer about your options for a bankruptcy should be FREE. Make sure you understand the differences between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 before going down this path.

    2. If bankruptcy is not a good option, go back to the original lender of your student loan and try to negotiate directly with them. They usually are much more likely to deal honestly with you. With a federal student loan, you can get a deferral for medical reasons (on some or all of the loans), and interest may not even accrue, allowing you more control on what you’re paying monthly. If you don’t know who this lender is, contact your school’s financial aid department or pull a credit report (or 3) and get the contact information from there.

    3. Check out the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This is the lending arm of the federal Department of Education, not some schmuck bank. They can qualify even students loans that are in default for a consolidation. The downside is, they’ll roll all those default fees and interest into the principal, but it will clear all your issues up at one go. [www.ed.gov]

    Finally, remember that federal student loans have all sorts of safety nets, specifically because they are so hard to discharge. If you ever have problems making a payment for any reason, always immediately contact your student loan lender. You can get a deferral for almost any reason at the drop of a hat.

    It took months to get my mess straightened out, but it can be done! Good luck!

  71. TheSurlyOne says:

    Over 10 years ago, when I was 22, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had to cash out all my savings and move back in with my parents. My mom and dad both wiped out much of their savings and 401k to pay for just a portion of my medical bills. I also had a new Honda Accord that I voluntarily surrended (same as repo, only you drive it to them and hand over the keys) and let over $8k in credit card debt charge off. When facing the very real possibility of death, creditors aren’t even on the radar.

    Thankfully, I kicked leukemia’s ass! =)

    I had to deal with countless collection calls, many from individuals that spoke as their IQ was below the threshold for mental retardation! I tried to explain that I had been very sick and that my medical bills were, in fact, more important than what I owed anyone else, including them! Human emotion, especially sympathy, isn’t a concept that these people understand!

    So….I learned how to get rid of them one by one, some were a bit tougher than others, but eventually I won. I did it by being ruthless and saying things to some of them that still shock me when I recall some of them. I used the most hateful, evil, vulgar words and thoughts that I could possibly imagine! I fought fire with VENOM…but didn’t raise my voice (usually), I just said abhorrent things to those cretins and they eventually decided that no amount of money I owed was worth them having to listen to what I had to say. One jerk even called me Satan….but I got rid of them.

    BTW, this tactic as a last-ditch effort after multiple cease and desist letters, faxes and verbal notifications to all of them! I dont’ think I could ever do it again, but it was a desperate reaction to preserve what little sanity I had left!

    • Feminist Whore says:

      @ElijahGolem: Aww c’mon! That’s just a tease! I want examples of the terrible things you said, I bet it was very impressive.

      I’m a big fan of giving as good as you get, and taking the gloves off when needed.

  72. kwsventures says:

    Nowhere in the United States constitution does it say health insurance is a right. You should of had your own health insurance policy. For a 22 year old, the insurance would not have been very expensive. You planned poorly.

    • frodo_35 says:

      You are such an ass. Your parents planed poorly as you are the poster child FOR abortion. Mr Spock had more compasion then you you jerk off!!!

  73. Anonymous says:

    I have no experience with student loans, but I have a lot of experience with unsecured debt, like credit card debt. And I can tell you that a cease and desist letter makes a lawsuit more likely. I would just send them a certified letter saying that your employer forbids you from receiving these phone calls at work. I’m a little confused about you making payments to NCO for 27 months. This is student loan debt?

  74. Anonymous says:

    i am a student loan debt collector. While it can be frustrating dealing with collection agencies, you have to admit you are in the wrong by not reading your contract. you had 5 yrs of forbearance and over 6 yrs worth of deferments, by blowing it off you have no one to blame but YOURSELF. you can make all the payments you want but how much are these payments? im sure they are not qualifying pmts. a qualifying pmt is what is required to successfully finish a rehab program, also you have to be enrolled in the program for your pmts to even be considered a rehab payment. by just sending in 25 bucks here and there you do nothing. I would figure something out before they garnish your wages or ssd up to 25% plus penalty’s, how long have these loans been outstanding? oh and btw i can call you, i can leave msgs with your grandma and grand pappy just as long as i dont divulge any info but i sure can imply things. hell i can call your boss and leave msgs with him, i wouldn’t recommend a cease communications letter, once received they go straight to WAGE GARNISHMENT/FEDERAL OFFSET. moral of the story READ YOUR CONTRACT, KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE LENDER, there are programs that are offered to help you, but because you couldn’t be bothered with your own bills, you now have to deal with people like me. GOOD LUCK TO YOU! you will need it. oh and the letter they sent you is a rehab letter. the lender will not speak with you they have deemed you noncollectable, so what they will do is not speak with you then they will send your loan out to another third party agency and they will also charge more fees and penaltys. Also i hope you dont own a business or hold a professional license i wouldnt plan on keeping either of those if this loan isnt taken care of soon. i would google student loans consequences of default also go to the dept of eds. website you can find out exactly how screwed you are.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Do not sign the affidavit, and do continue making the previously agreed upon payments; however if they have a local office, pay your monthly amount due entirely in pennies. Yes it means a quick stop to the bank prior, however if they refuse it will completely nullify your debt.