Sallie Mae Sends Student Loan Bills Into Abyss, Still Expects Me To Pay Them

Unless you’re the U.S. Postal Service, paperless billing can be a real blessing. It saves trees and clutter, saves companies money, and is generally quite useful. James tells Consumerist that he discovered a case where paperless billing is not so great: when a company enrolls you in it without telling you, doesn’t verify that they have your e-mail address from the present decade, and sends collections after you.

So I’m in a difficult situation regarding my student loans going to collections and I’m not sure what to do.

When I graduated three years ago I sent Sallie Mae a check for a little over $5,000 as an initial payment. (Huge surprise gift from my aunt/godmother who had been saving it for me since I was born — awesome, right?) With the check I included a letter requesting Sallie Mae confirm receipt, as well as let me know how they would apply the money towards my outstanding balance (I had included instructions to pay off my highest interest loans first).

Well, Sallie Mae decided to never get back to me, and after a few weeks and a few frantic phone calls in which eternally pleasant phone reps denied ever receiving the check, they cashed it.

Phew. So, crisis averted (or so I think).

Fast forward three years, to last week. I get a call from collections stating my loans are almost ninety days past due. (I have totally forgotten about them up to this point, and have been quite content in my ignorance.)

But I am confused. I have never received a bill. I have never received a letter. I have never received a phone call (before this one). Nothing. But, unbeknownst to me, I have been receiving e-mails. Lots and lots of e-mails.

Apparently, when I first applied for my student loans in high school (HIGH SCHOOL), I gave Sallie Mae my AOL e-mail address. And, though I never signed up for paperless billing (which one of the aforementioned phone reps perkily confirmed), Sallie Mae automatically signs you up for paperless billing if they have an e-mail address for you. As a convenience. Without ever calling, or checking the validity of the e-mail address. Even though it’s almost eight years old.

And I get to feel like I’m starring in an episode of the Twilight Zone for the next few days as every single person I talk to at Sallie Mae sees no issue with them never sending me a physical bill yet forwarding my account to collections.

So now my credit’s hurting, they want me to pay them a boatload in late fees, my interest rates may possibly go up, and they’re telling me I have one option — pay them.

Do I have any recourse? I’m not trying to get out of paying my balance, but I’m not crazy about paying late fees I don’t think I owe, or getting my credit screwed. Can they do this?

Thanks for the help.

First: I can say from extensive experience: never forget about your student loans. Let this post serve as a warning to other readers: Sallie Mae might be sending your bills into the abyss that was your teenage e-mail account. Make sure they’re not.

Second: Call the Customer Advocate Unit. Readers tell us that they’re a charming oasis of competence and empowerment within Sallie Mae, and they exist to solve problems just like this one. Call them.

RELATED:
Reach Sallie Mae’s Customer Advocate Unit
Sallie Mae’s Customer Advocate Unit Makes Up For Regular Customer Service

Comments

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  1. winnabago says:

    More Sallie Mae goodness – if they have an old checking account number for you, even with no authorization, they will try to direct debit funds from that account if they feel you are not paying and should be (even if in in-school deferrment).

    • tbax929 says:

      Wow. That’s disturbing. Had you provided them with your bank account information, or did they just take it from a previous payment you made from them? Were you able to get the issue resolved, or were you just screwed?

      • winnabago says:

        That was the trick – I had provided them with an authorization to withdrawl, but not for that account (I know this because that particular checking account wasn’t ever given out to a vendor), so they just assumed that the authorization was for ANY account they could find of mine. So, yes, they took it off an old check or something.

        The resolution was they applied the payments to the first two invoices for when the deferment ended – two years in the future. Of course, this means there is no principal reduction or interest credit. Great solution guys!

    • unchainedmuse says:

      My friend’s cosigned on her daughter’s student loan. She wasn’t aware that her daughter stopped making payments until my friend looked at her own checking account online and it was EMPTY. Sallie May emptied the cosigner’s checking account! My friend was glad it was one that she only keeps a few dollars in!

    • BobOki says:

      Sallie Mae is the worst of the worst.
      They will randomly throw late fees etcetc on EVERY bill paid (even on auto deduction) which they will apply your payment to the “late fees”, never tell you about it, then let them add up showing only on their systems, not on your bills or online statemenets, then hit you with 3-20k worth of “missed payments” and hit your credit report.
      I have fought with them for over 10 years on a 8k loan, have paid them over 25k total, and as of two years ago STILL had the original 8k loan due. You have NO legal recourse as they are a student loan you cannot even take them to court.
      I eventually took out another loan at my local bank to pay the entire thing off (2 years ago) and then found out that just last year for taxes months after april, they “wrote off” my loan (which was paid the year before it) and now the IRS is coming after me for another $1500 or so. I sent the IRS my payoff paperwork, which contained the loan amount and showing it was settled, and yet IRS still says I owe them $1500+ for it being “written off.” It seems even after you finally get out off Sallie Mae’s horrible house of unchecked horrors, they can still screw you.
      Stay as far away from them as possible.

  2. Pinklette says:

    I really really hate to blame the OP, but why wasn’t this guy using the insanely nice web tools Sallie Mae provides to check on his account? All of his problems could have been solved, including the initial one with the check, if he had just used their online account management.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I can’t speak for Sallie Mae, but I know with my collector the website has a PIN, password, and identification of a picture or something like that. And that’s if I even remember what the website is, I can try to guess those things years later.

      Think about the context for just being out of school – you move around a lot. It’s not like you have a filing cabinet or something and I wouldn’t want to write down passwords and such anyway.

      Also, I don’t understand why these companies don’t send actual bills. OP was lucky they even tried to email. I know that OP spaced off since the time period was 3 years, but I can understand the anguish up to a certain point.

      • pdj79 says:

        The site is very easy to get to….www.salliemae.com. Login is on the left side of the page. If you never registered, there’s a handy link, right under the forgot userID and password links. He had the tools to take care of this himself but chose not to. I feel bad for the kid and second that he needs to contact the Customer Advocate, but, in all seriousness, it really is his fault for not keeping tabs on this stuff.

        • trentblase says:

          I have to agree on this one. I’m not saying the OP didn’t get a raw deal. But at the same time, it was completely preventable with reasonable action. Graduation is the time to put on your big boy pants and do monthly checkups on all your accounts (do it when you pay your bills).

        • dwtomek says:

          I can’t believe anyone would condone Sallie Mae’s policy of automatically sending paperless billing to an 8 year old e-mail account. This really seems like a policy specifically intended to garner more fee’s etc.

  3. seth1066 says:

    1. I’d dig up the canceled check for the five large for starters.

    Here’s how the Student Loan program really works:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/09/student-loan-debt-credit-card-debt/

  4. BigNick73 says:

    So the OP “forgot” to pay a student loan for 3 months, and didn’t bother to update his/her account information with the bank and it’s not his/her fault because?

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      Replace “months” with “years” and I think that’s pretty much it.

      • BigNick73 says:

        Article said the collection agency called claiming the loans were almost 90 days past due, to me that says the OP paid for 3 years then just stopped for 3 months.

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          Oh, I thought by “fast forward three years … (I have totally forgotten about them up to this point)” he meant that he hadn’t paid for three years, but I can see what you’re saying too. I think he should have put “paying as scheduled” in there somewhere. Boo to ambiguous writing. :)

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I’m pretty sure that when he made the $5k payment, he applied it towards future payments and not towards principal. The $5k was probably enough for roughly three years worth of payments.

            That’s probably how the account stayed in good standing, despite no payments being made for three years.

            • Etoiles says:

              Right. For many, many holders of the federal loans (all except my new loan owner… I hate those bastards), when you pay in excess they advance your next due date. So if I have $250 due on Jan 1 and Feb 1 and Mar 1 and so on, but I always send $350, then by the time we hit June 1 my next actual due date will be roughly January 1 of the *next* year. So yeah, a $5000 lump payment probably bought him a few years’ worth of due dates.

    • backinpgh says:

      I’m thinking maybe they were in deferment for a period, then they didn’t realize the payments had starting coming due yet.

  5. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I’m kinda confused here. He sent a check for $5,000 as an initial payment on student loans. Sallie Mae hemmed and hawed (she’s a nice southern lass, so these are the things she does), but finally got over her vapors and cashed the check. Then he didn’t make any payments for three years? I don’t mean to be an OP blamer, but really?

    • mmmsoap says:

      So it sounds like he made a lump sum payment, intended to be applied toward his payments future forward, and that the so-called “credit” on his account only recently expired.

      So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he didn’t make payments for 3 years, but is currently only ninety days past due.

      OP — should have been on top of his own finances. Lesson learned early, keep it for the rest of your life.

      Sallie Mae — that’s some shady practices, eliminating the paper trail for billing information, and sending it only to an email address. Because, at the age of people taking out loans (college students, for cripes sakes) people aren’t sticking with the same email address and they hop between @mycollege.edu and @mynewjob.com addresses.

      Every financial institution I have accounts with has sent me an email AND paper confirmation of the choice to move to paperless billing/statements — presumably to protect me and them in case my email address had been compromised and the decision wasn’t actually my own. The fact that any institution that has financial info on people would be so cavalier with sensitive data is very concernig.

      • jessjj347 says:

        And many times, technically it is not possible to stick with the same email address. The school won’t have that .edu address around for much longer after graduating and if you had AOL before, well…they may have been your ISP and are no longer.

    • rpm773 says:

      Back in the old days (1999), Sallie Mae would send a voucher booklet once every few years. It was upon the borrower to pull a voucher out of that booklet, write a check, and put both into his own envelope..each month on time.

      I’m sorry, what was the OP complaining about again?

  6. Dallas_shopper says:

    Welcome to adulthood.

  7. jessjj347 says:

    I can sympathize with the OP. It’s hard to keep track of when the student loan bank wants payment. They never send anything in the mail, call, or email (OP was lucky they tried that). You basically have to remember their website years later and 3 or 4 different PINs and passwords!

    • fsnuffer says:

      I can sympathize with Sallie Mae. They have millions of airhead nuvo adults to track down and each one has an excuse as to why they did not pay their bill.

  8. opticnrv says:

    I agree with a lot of people on here. If you know you owe someone money, and you don’t interact with them for over a month, the ball is in your court regardless of whether or not you’ve recieved anything from them.

    I’ll second the post that says “Welcome to Adulthood”.

  9. EcPercy says:

    Sounds like something pretty easy to handle… You never did tell us what the full balance was, but I assume when you said you sent 5k to them as an initial payment that you knew the balance was larger than that.

    Just so you know. Even if you make a huge principle payment on a loan. If there is still a balance due you will get billed for the next month…. You don’t get to make a large payment and then just skip 3 years of payments.

    Time to grow up and take responsibility. I am sure they could have updated your e-mail address over the phone. You knew you still owed them money.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      Actually, a lot of loans are like that. You can prepay quite a bit and not have to pay for a while. Of course, interest is probably still accruing on the remaining principle. My car loan and student loans work like that. My credit cards do not.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      The whole story is kind of confusing…

      I’m assuming the balance was well over $5k and when he made the large payment, he applied it towards future payments and not towards principal. The $5k was probably enough for roughly three years worth of payments and kept his account in good standing up until three months ago.

      He probably moved around a lot and his contact information was grossly outdated. Original creditors typically don’t invest much time/money in tracking people down and his debt was sold to a collector. Collection Agencies are very good at finding people.

      He’s in a crappy situation and I doubt the collection agency will negotiate a Pay-For-Delete or a Goodwill. The best way to handle these situations is to avoid them in the first place. If an account shows up as active on your credit report, it’s incredibly important to make sure contact information is up to date.

    • psm321 says:

      Except for the part where that’s completely not true. Many student loan companies (and I believe DoE too) will allow a balance paydown to count towards covering future payments as well so you don’t have to pay for a while

  10. Jevia says:

    Sallie Mae’s left hand never seems to know what the right hand does. I had a similar issue many years ago when I asked for a deferment on my loan when I lost my job. I was also going through a divorce and moved. Six months goes by and I realize I never got a letter confirming the deferment and I didn’t know how long the deferment was good for. Called Sallie Mae and was told, they’d send out all the paperwork, confirmed my new address. I don’t get anything. Several more months go by, I finally got a new job, but significantly less money, so I still can’t afford my loan payment. I figure Sallie Mae will contact me when my deferral is up and I can make some new arrangements.

    After about a year, I finally get a letter from Sallie Mae Collections saying they now had my account. I call them up and they had no record of my deferral request, no record of my receiving my new address until just recently and now I was seriously past due in my payments and sent to collections. I’m like wtf? They claim they’d been calling and mailing me stuff to my old address and telephone number, which no one ever returned (of course). Somehow, they had no record of my prior letter or telephone call. So now I was stuck with paying back all these penalty fees because even if I had been granted a deferral it was only for six months and I should have known that (despite what a prior rep had told me). I was told that once my loan had been “sold” to collections, I was SOL and had no recourse. Student loans just suck.

    • shaleoil24 says:

      they also presumably allowed you to get your education so that you can apply for the jobs you’ve had in your adult life.

      so the alternative could’ve been worse

  11. womynist says:

    I bet when Sallie Mae cashed the check for 5k, they applied it as a “pre-payment” of the OP’s future monthly payment amounts. That’s how they used to do it, anyway. Now if you make a payment that is larger than the monthly amount, they ask if you want to pre-pay the next monthly installment, or apply the remainder to your principal.

    That might be how the OP didn’t know he was 90 days past due. Although I do still think he should’ve followed up after sending a check for 5k and not getting any kind of statement.

    The situation stinks, but like the rest of us have done, the OP will have to chalk this one up to experience. Welcome to the real world.

  12. ahecht says:

    The #1 thing they always stressed in my government-mandated student loan information sessions was “Even if you don’t get a bill, you have to make your load payments. You, not the lender, are responsible for knowing when repayment begins.”

  13. tbax929 says:

    Yes, the OP should have been more diligent about his student loan bill. However, Sallie Mae should have at least mailed the guy a reminder that a payment was coming, especially since he hadn’t had one due for several years. I don’t think the OP is trying to “get out” of paying his loans. In fact, he states that he’s not. But since Sallie Mae recognizes they auto-enrolled him in paperless billing I think they should work with him on the late fees and credit ding.

    I remember the old days when we would get coupon books for student loans. That would be a nice option. At the least, they should allow their customers to choose how they’re contacted. If an invoice were sent to my old AOL address (God, I don’t even remember what it was), I wouldn’t be too happy, either.

    • Gulliver says:

      How about just updating his email address. I bet his mom and dad, and every other company he deals with has the new one since high school. Sorry it is too big of a strain to pass that information along. I guess he wouldn’t update his mailing address and expect the post office to forward into forever.
      By the way, I pay many bills without ever seeing a statement. My rent is paid every month on time, and they send me nothing. If I paid 3 years in advance I would still have to remember when it was next due.

  14. Kevin says:

    Was the e-mail address they had on your old web site at from GeoCities?

  15. psm321 says:

    I have always had (4 different) student loan companies send me a letter in the mail when payments are going to start coming due soon (after a deferment for example), even if I am enrolled in paperless billing for regular monthly bills. The facf that Sallie Mae apparently doesn’t do this, and signs people up for paperless billing without a request or any mail notification, is incredibly shady and seems explicitly designed to collect late/penalty fees.

  16. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Wait a second, I’m confused. He’d been paying the bills for the last 3 years, but somehow “forgot” that they were due and now he’s 90-days past? Why is this SM’s problem?

    He knew he owed money, and hasn’t bothered to pay anything for the last 3 months (or is it 3 years? This post doesn’t make it very clear) and he’s crying because his credit’s in the toilet?

    If you owe money and you KNOW you owe the money, and somehow bills just stop showing up (or never show up), the onus is on YOU to get that corrected. You can’t just be “content in your ignorance” and assume the student loan fairy paid them off for you.

  17. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The OP took out the debt and knew about it. It was his responsibility to keep up with it. Statements are a convenience, not required to collect payment

  18. chocolate1234 says:

    I do have some sympathy for this guy. He’s not saying he wants to get out of paying his loans, but he is saying he’s upset (and rightly so) that Sallie Mae signed him up for paperless services that prevented him from getting notices letting him know when payments were due.

    That being said, this is a good lesson for him in the future to be vigilant and keep track of all of his bills, never relying on the company to do that for him. Things like this happen all the time, so it’s best to keep track of things yourself.

  19. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Yes, student loans suck, but how is it not the OP’s responsibility to make sure they get paid on time, every time?

    Imagine, for a moment, if a reader sent in an article saying, “I forgot to pay my car payment for 3 months! Oopsies!” and asked how he could get out of paying any sort of penalty. Same thing, only now you’re doing it for something slightly less tangible.

    Man up and ask for their forgiveness and figure out how to get this fixed.

  20. RayanneGraff says:

    Oh god, I absolutely f*cking HATE Sallie Mae with a vitriolic rage that honestly frightens me. They are the worst company I have ever dealt with. In 05 I went to a tech school & dropped out after 2 months cause it sucked so bad. The teacher just sat there & had us read from the textbook and I wasn’t learning squat. I had gotten a grant and a loan, and the school told me that they would use the grant to pay for the time I was there & send the loan back to SM, meaning that I would owe nothing. Well, they lied.

    About 6 months later I got a $2,000 bill from SM. And when I dug out my paperwork, I found that the school had done the paperwork in such a cryptic way that I couldn’t prove that they said they would use the grant. I went back to the school & tried to talk to the loan people there, but the ENTIRE financial aid department had been completely restaffed- there was not a single person left who had been there when I went there & everybody looked at me like *I* was lying. I called SM & told them the whole story & their response was literally “Well, we honestly don’t care what happened, we’re gonna get our money either way”. This was actually what I was told over the phone by a MANAGER at SM.

    I’ve gone through the whole deferment process, and they have since sold it to a collections agency who is preparing to garnish my wages. I don’t know what to do about this. I’m prepared to switch jobs every few months, file bankruptcy, & even change my name if I have to to escape this bullshit. I REFUSE to pay this loan. I do NOT owe it. I was LIED to by this school, and so far I haven’t found a single person who is willing or able to help me with this.

    Sallie Mae is an abomination. They need to be stopped. I understand people need to pay back their loans, but when someone(like me) was literally DEFRAUDED, they just don’t give a shit. They go after the victim and continue to do business with shady schools.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Isn’t that how it works with any loan?

      If you can’t prove there was lying, then it falls on you to deal with the consequences. I’m not saying it’s “right,” just that you signed the paperwork for the loan and are ultimately responsible since the school dropped the ball.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It sounds like the real issue is between you and your school.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        Thats just it- they’re playing dumb & denying all responsibility, so what can I do?

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          First step would be to go over absolutely every photo copy of all documents you filled out pertaining to financial aid at the school.

          Secondly, contact the collection agency (in writing) requesting verification of the debt in accordance with the FCRA. If you’re lucky, then the collection agency wont be able to do it but in all likelihood, you did authorize the loan at some point when you filled out paperwork at the school. Whether you realized what you were doing or not, there’s probably a signed promissory note out there.

          If that’s the case, then the money was disbursed on your behalf from Sallie Mae to the school in question. Sallie Mae doesn’t care if you didn’t like the quality of the class, all they know is the money was disbursed in your name. If the school in question was committing fraud, then you might be able to take up the issue with the DOE. But from the sounds of it, you are responsible from the debt.

        • Gulliver says:

          Your anger should be directed at the school, not Sallie Mae. It is not their job to go over the minutia of your specific situation. They sent the check, your school kept the money. I would have told the school to sign over the check to you and send it in to pay it off at the time, or provide me with a letter saying exactly what they would do. You already admit you thought the school sucked, so why would you think they could handle this sort of transaction properly? This is 100% on you, and you will eventually end up paying it one way or another.

    • Coles_Law says:

      Just so you know, you can’t get the loan discharged in bankrupcy.

    • psm321 says:

      Sallie Mae may suck, but I don’t see how they’re it fault here. They’re out the money through no fault of their own. It’s your school you should be pursuing (though I’ll admit ideally Sallie Mae would take it up for you and fight your school)

  21. PaRa02 says:

    Ah yes, I fell into the same abyss. although they were sending everything to my parents who were getting confused with the student loan and parent loan. I argued with a rep for about an hour and continued asking why they would NOT notify the primary account holder that my account was past due. Even though they had all my information. Suffice to say I broke the Rep stance and she waived all fees for SM’s shortcomming.

  22. Rocket80 says:

    My guess is the $5000 payment was enough to put off having to make any other payments for the 3 years. Still totally the OP’s fault, how do you take out a loan and then ‘forget’ about it? I don’t blame Sallie Mae one bit for trying to get their money back.

  23. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Frontier Internet did this to me. Haven’t received a bill in about a month and a half after initiating service, getting kind of worried.

    I call and they tell me 1) I’m signed up for paperless billing though I never received an email (they send it to your frontier email account which I have never once checked 2) they REQUIRE you be signed up for auto draft if you have a dry loop service. Which is bullshit.

  24. AllanG54 says:

    I co-signed for one of my daughter’s student loans. I get calls and/or letters as soon as she’s five days past due. So, I have no idea how this person didn’t get a call. Additionally, I guess graduating college still doesn’t mean that you’ve grown up and are able to keep track of finances.

    • Gulliver says:

      He probably does not have the correct phone, email; or address in anything he has with Sallie Mae. They should just know because he does.

  25. Willow says:

    Not to lay blame, but Sallie Mae’s website is very user friendly and as long as you keep your information with them up to date, you generally don’t have any issues with them. I receive my emails saying to check my account for my next statement, like clockwork, on the 10th of every month. I simply print the statement and send in a check with the bottom portion.

    I believe they also sent out an email about 6 months to a year ago stating that they were beginning 100% paperless statements unless you opted out within a certain time frame.

    Also, when you owe Sallie Mae money, they call, all the time. My sister can vouch for this. She began receiving phone calls when she was over 15 days late. It’s very strange that they didn’t call for 3 months, unless the phone number on file wasn’t up to date and the collections department had to find a current number.

  26. Pax says:

    On the one hand … the OP knew s/.he had student loans, and that they would need to be repaid. They should really have contacted the lender to find out when they would start getting bills.

    I mean … how exactly do you forget that you owe someone several thousand dollars?!?

    On the other hand, signing someone up for paperless billing without their permission or knowledge is a serious problem.

    Also, having sent that large check to them, that right there is a good way to show the courts (if it ever gets there) your good faith intent to make good on the debt, despite “forgetting” about it later.

    At the very least, I believe they should waive those late fees.

  27. Gulliver says:

    The OP can not be seriously blaming Sallie Mae for his issue. Welcome to adulthood. When you accept responsibility for a loan you also accept being in contact with them to update your information. How hard would that have been? Not too much, but as you state ” (I have totally forgotten about them up to this point, and have been quite content in my ignorance.)”
    I think that sums it up nicely.

  28. proficiovera says:

    With all the spam Sallie Mae sends the important emails get lost anyways. I had to create a filter to send Sallie Mae’s emails to a special folder. Most of it ends up being them trying to sell me a service I don’t need.

  29. Quantumpanda says:

    I’m certainly not trying to say that the OP isn’t responsible for keeping up with his loan, but I will vouch for Sallie Mae’s underhanded techniques regarding paperless billing. Unless this changed with the new website design they just unveiled (I just noticed the new design when I paid this month’s loan payment the other day, and haven’t taken the time yet to see if this matter has changed as well), the only way to get them to send you anything by email at all is to authorize them to send you EVERYTHING by email only.

    I found this out the hard way when I authorized email communications to simplify things. The next month, when my budget told me it was time to pay the bill (yes, I keep a budget spreadsheet that tracks when all my bills should be due, so that even if I don’t get the bill, I know it needs to be paid), I hadn’t received the bill in the mail yet. I had gotten an emailed notification that the bill was ready on the web site, but I several of my bills do that while still sending me a paper bill, so I didn’t think it was unusual. I figured the paper bill had gotten lost in the mail, so I went on the website and printed out the pdf version of the bill so I’d have a remittance slip to mail back with the check (I had not yet at that time switched to paying my bills online). The next month, I had again not received a bill. I looked around a bit on the website and discovered that email communications for Sallie Mae is all or nothing.

    Now that I pay my bills online, every month when I pay, the web site offers to send me an email confirmation of my payment…IF I authorize email communications again. Not a chance. I don’t use paperless billing for any of my bills, because they typically only keep 12 months of records accessible online, and I generally keep my financial records for 3 years (longer for certain things like taxes). If I have to manually print off a paper copy or save a pdf to store, I may as well just have them send me the paper.

  30. djshinyo says:

    No offense, but it sounds like this guy dropped the ball on this one…..Pretty sure a large lump payment doesn’t mean you still won’t get billed monthly….just might lower your accrued interest and shit. But yea…..eff SallieMae.

  31. dipthonggirl says:

    So you made a $5000 payment, but didn’t pay anything else? That loan could have been paid off early if you had been doing even the minimum + 10% these past 3 years. I’ve been late myself but that’s just ridiculous.

  32. boston_gyrl says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your predicament! Unfortunately, private lenders are really cutting up now that federal loan origination is out of their hands.

    If I were in your position I would do one of two things:

    1. I would not contact sallie mae again. I would send a cease communication to the collections agency and dispute the account on my credit report as being fraudulent due to the material inaccuracies. Undoubtedly the collections will continue contacting you in violation of the FDCPA (currently student loan lenders and guaranty agencies are exempt from violations under the FDCPA; however, collections agencies are not). After they rack up a good amount of violations (each phone call = 1 to 4 violations; each collection letter = 1 – 3 violations) I would send a “notice of intent to file a lawsuit”…when they contact you…and they will I would negotiate the debt down to where it is legitimately supposed to be or lower.

    OR

    2. I would dispute the account with all three credit bureaus citing them as inaccurate then I would send sallie mae the dispute along with a ‘notice of intent to sue’ alleging fraud due to their intentional misrepresentation and misstatements about the true status of the accounts to the department of education and all three credit bureaus to conceal their breach of contract caused by their ‘intentional failure’ to follow the due diligence procedures pursuant to the higher education act.’ by intentionally failing to verify the accuracy of the contact information on file for you to collect amounts not due.

    While you can’t sue under the Higher Education Act….you can allege fraud. However I would try option 1 first!

  33. Niebby says:

    One of my loans is with Sallie Mae. It’s their “smart option” so I have to pay a huge amount of money in interest every month. Let’s face it: if I had the money to pay several hundred in interest every month, I wouldn’t really need that much money for a loan. Since I don’t have a job (the internship had to take over job hours), I’m essentially paying them back their own money.

    I never signed myself up for email billing, yet I never receive a paper bill. They also call my mother if I’m a millisecond late for my payment, before I ever get a call. I’ve checked my account numerous times to ensure that I’m supposed to be getting paper bills and that MY number is the main line. But it’s never changed anything. I just make sure I remember the particular day my bill is due.