Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sent it in a letter...

So, I've sent an email to the Oregonian requesting that they write a story regarding the issues people have had with Sallie Mae - I sent links along with it to Student Loan Justice, Sallie Mae Beef, and several other sites on the web including my own.

I haven't heard back from them yet, but it's only been 24 hours. I'll keep watch and if I don't hear anything in a week, I'll send another copy of it. I'm also going to send out a paper version to them, as well as to every local news agency here in town. Bwa ha ha ha ha! I'm GOING to be heard, and I'm determined that everyone else should be heard, too.



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

BBB Complaint copy...

The BBB that will handle your complaint is:
BBB of Eastern MA, ME & VT
(Natick, MA)
235 West Central St, Suite 1
Natick, MA 01760-3767
Phone: (508)652-4800
Fax: (508)652-4833

The following information has been received and sent to be processed.

You can check on the status of your complaint anytime on our web site.

Your password (used to access the case online) is 075CEDA7

You can check on the status of your complaint anytime on our automated phone system by calling 508-652-4800.


Case #: 134758
Date Case Opened: 03/14/2007
Status: Open
Days Open: 1


Complaint Type: Consumer to Business
Salutation: Ms.
First name: MXXXXXXXXX
Middle Initial: A

Province or State: OR
Postal or Zip code: XXXXXXXX
Zip + 4:
Country: USA

Work phone: Ext:


Direct Complaint to

Firm ID: 0000031959
Business name: Sallie Mae Tuition Answer Loan
Address: 50 Braintree Hill Park
City: Braintree
State: MA
Zip code: 02184

Business phone: 800-749-9100


Complaint Information

Date purchased: 02/21/2003
Zip Code of purchase location:
Store/Establishment #: School - WCI
Date of problem
first occurred: 05/30/2005
Have you complained
to the business: Yes
If yes whom did you
complain to
(last name): Legal Dep
Purchase price: $23,000.00
Amount in dispute: $11,0000.00
Product or service involved: Student Loans
Brand name or manufacturer:
Model name or number:
Order, contract or
account number :
Salesperson's name:
Primary Nature of Complaint: Credit, Billing or Collection Issues
The company has unethical collection practices


Brief description of problem:
Company has repeatedly failed to follow the Fair Debt Collection act in collection processes. They have been verbally abusive, have called upwards of 8 times per day to harrass me, and have attempted to take payments prior to the agreed upon payment date. In addition, they have repeatedly refused to work with me regarding reduced payments due to hardship, and have continued to harass me for payment even after I have informed them in writing to no longer contact me except by mail.


Settlement sought:
The company has a responsibility to treat me with respect and to stop harassing me. They should be willing to work with me based on my income, and should not continue to lay late fees and high interest on unpaid portions of partial payment amounts, when they suggested them, and have agreed to these partial payments due to my income. I should not be penalized because my income happens to be lower than they want me to pay. I feel that the company has the responsibility to lower my percentage rate to a reasonable amount of BELOW 10% and make it fixed, as well as lower my payments permanently to a reasonable sum of money - around $160 per month, based on my income.

Primary settlement type: Billing Adjustment

And here we go again...

As of 9:42 AM PST today, my cell phone rang AGAIN - and AGAIN, it was Sallie Mae... I picked it up, heard the recording, and hung up.

I am going to be purchasing a recording device for my phone as soon as I possibly can afford to, and will be making sure to check my cell phone carrier for the list of all incoming calls... There are three in specific that I'm looking for.

1-317-595-1440 is a toll number for them

1-866-656-3422 is a toll-free number for them

"Unknown" is the unlisted phone number for them

I'm also going to be requesting a listing of all the dates and times that Sallie Mae has attempted to access my bank account.

Anyone know a reputable lawyer in the PDX Oregon area willing to take on this scum of the earth?



I just received this in my email today, after faxing over the cease and desist letter to their legal and complaints department yesterday...

Dear Sallie Mae customer,

While attempting to contact you about your Sallie Mae student loan, we've found that your contact information on file is incorrect. Please take a moment to help us update our records.

Updating your address and phone number online is easy. Please click here and log into Manage Your Loans.

If you wish to speak with one of our customer service representatives, please call us at
800/766-7242 with your new contact information.

Thank you,

Jennifer Martin
Sallie Mae Servicing

To Anonymous - FWIW regarding Sallie Mae

Originally posted 03/12/2007, in response to a particularly stupid and asinine comment made at my other blog regarding the prior post:

Yes, you're right - it was all my fault that I'm in the financial bind with Sallie Mae that I'm in today. Gee - I'm a horrible person for being SO stupid and SO at fault.

I chose to go to school and try to better myself and deluded myself into thinking it was the right course of action.

I chose to go with Sallie Mae because I chose NOT to educate myself about other options that could have been available.

I chose to NOT go into the field of culinary arts because I didn't want to live out of my car, since the pay scale was at minimum wage and rent couldn't be met with it.

I am currently choosing to repay back what I *can* - even though I honestly can't afford it - and it's my fault as well.

You're right. Everything I did was my own fault, and it was NEVER, EVER the fault of Sallie Mae or it's ethical behavior or not. Sallie Mae has done NOTHING but do what I asked them to do, and it's my fault that I asked them to do anything...

In fact, apparently, according to YOU, what I should be doing is encouraging people to get themselves in debt with Sallie Mae to the utmost, because they're SO wonderful!

What I *SHOULD* have done was to continue down the road I was going and eventually end up either on the dole or flipping burgers at McDeath's.

And I *am* trying to fix the situation and, as you put it, "what needs to be done to get out of this mess and move on, lesson learned."

Regarding what I've written in my blog here, just remember - I put my own thoughts down and own them as mine. Who the FUCK are you to go after me and whether I was right or wrong on an action in the first place? You don't know me, you don't even bother placing a NAME down or any contact information - you're just some anonymous person who apparently wants to make sure that I know that I'M THE ONE AT FAULT!

Well, la-dee-fucking-da! You did your job. Thanks so much for letting me know that it was all my fault for doing this. I already knew that. And thanks SO much for putting such HELPFUL information up for me to read. Hope you feel proud that you've done your public service for the day.

DIAF, fucker!


The Story continues...

Originally posted 03/12/2007:

I'm 33 years old, and three years ago, I decided I'd try to get re-trained for another job market, as mine was slowly going into the toilet.

I went to Western Culinary Institute and got accepted to get trained as a culinary chef. My initial loans from Sallie Mae were for $22,000 on a signature loan, and $4,000 for the federal aid loan. I was never told that there was a difference, that they couldn't be consolidated together, and that things were just beginning to get worse. In addition, there was no disclosure about how much the interest would be, either.

I graduated from WCI in November of 2005. I had been working part-time in a call center, and when I went to look for a job as a cook, found that I couldn't find anything that was more than $8 per hour - well below what I had been making before, and certainly not high enough to pay off my student loans. I'd been told by the recruiter that I would be able to find plenty of well-paying jobs in the area, but when it came time, there weren't any to be found that were more than fifty cents higher than minimum wage. In my exit interview, the loan officer at the school told me my payments would be $450/month. I laughed at her - I couldn't believe they'd be that high.

I decided to go full-time in the call center where I was, and attempt to put aside monies so that in 6 months, I could start paying them at least something. The pay was decent, and I thought I could do something with the money I made there. Six months later, I got my first bill and found out that the loan officer was wrong - it wasn't $450/month. Nope - it was $553/month! In addition, for each month I didn't pay, the percentage rate on my loan was going to be at 18.9% - but if I DID pay, the interest would only be 14%! This didn't include my federal loan, which was $165/month.

I couldn't pay $553/month - I couldn't even pay the $165/month for just the federal loan. I asked for a deferral so that I could have some time to figure it all out, and started searching on the internet for anything that I could find regarding my situation. I couldn't find anything other than the Federal Ombudsman's Page - which dealt strictly with federal loans - the government would not help me if it was a private loan, and Sallie Mae was free to charge whatever they wanted for the payments as it was ungoverned.

I did consolidate the federal loan and brought it down to $60/month. I had thought that, since they were under the same account numbers (absolutely NO difference whatsoever), the federal AND the private loan had been consolidated - I'd done everything on the internet. I know that I put the private loan into my request when I set everything up. They refused to consolidate the private loan, and stated I'd never asked - even though I know that I had. They then informed me that federal loans and private loans can't be consolidated at all - that they must remain separate - when I asked them why they had them under the same account number if they "had" to remain separate, they told me that they had a way of making sure that it was separate in the computer system.

After my first deferrment, I was called upwards of 8 times per day, was called a deadbeat and a liar, and told that I needed to pay "or else". I requested that they stop calling and hounding me, that it was illegal to do so. Sallie Mae's reps told me that they could do whatever they wanted, that they weren't bound by ANY federal law, and they could call as many times as they wanted.

I got another deferral and tried again to see if there was anything I could do to help myself - I attempted to move and consolidate my loan through other agencies, but was denied repeatedly. The reasons were that either I didn't make enough money to pay back the loan at their preferred rate, or that Sallie Mae wasn't releasing the information to them in a timely enough manner. After that, I sunk into a depression that I have yet to beat.

Sallie Mae took my money a day early when I set up a post-dated deferrment payment of $50 for their "processing" fee. I told them it was illegal and had cost me NSF fees at the bank - they told me they could take the money whenever they wanted, and that the date I'd given was a "suggestion", not something they had to follow.

I was told that I should "expect" such poor treatment from them, since I hadn't made even one payment, and since I was unresponsive to their calls. That I deserved it. That I was a horrible person.

When they called again on March 9th, I finally spoke with one person who worked with me a little. She was very nice and helped set up what they called a "forebearance partial payment" of $175/month for 5 months. The catch? Well, each payment would have a $10 processing fee added to it, and I'd have to pay $50 for the initial fee, AND I'd have to pay February and March together at the same time so that I'd get "caught up". Oh, and I'd continue to get late fees attached to those monthly payments since the remaining portion wasn't being paid, AND interest would continue to accrue at 18.9%.

I was terrified to do anything except say yes. I didn't want my loan to go into default, and felt that I had nowhere else to go. I couldn't seem to get out from under them at all, and couldn't see a way out of the mess that I'd inadvertantly created - all because I'd wanted to go a different direction at one point in my life.

Even after I said yes, faxed paperwork back and forth to agree with the partial payment, and had everything (I thought) agreed upon, I was STILL called two more times that day, and again two more times two days later!! I was again told that I should expect such treatment because I was "bad" and hadn't made payments to them, so I deserved it. The first person told me that the calls would stop after the initial $50 fee was taken. The NEXT person, who called two days later, said that no, they would only stop once the faxed paperwork was actually processed, which would take upwards of 72 hours.

I've called the Wm D. Ford loan company, and was told there was nothing they could do about the principle amount of the loan, since it was a private signature loan. I was given the phone number for the Federal Ombudsman, and was told there was nothing THEY could do either, since they only dealt with the federal portion of the loan - that Sallie Mae was indeed correct about stating they could charge whatever they wanted, at whatever interest rate they chose to.

I *WAS* told by the Federal Ombudsman that Sallie Mae HAS to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, regardless of whether they are a private corporation or not, and to start making a paper trail regarding everything they've sent me and everything they're doing to me. However, I cannot have the loan dismissed simply because of hardship - while the government looks on the loan as the same thing as a credit card, the LAW says that it's a student loan - and therefore I cannot file bankruptsy on it, either.

At this point, I'm fairly near hysterical because I don't know what else to do. I don't make enough money to pay the full amount, and with the percentage rate, the late fees and the processing fees, I'm looking at upwards of $90,000 before I see the final chapter of this - if I ever DO see the end of it. The stress is ruining my health, it's putting a strain on my relationship, and it's causing me to seriously think of suicide at times because I feel as though I have no other recourse. I'm crying as I type this because the situation seems to me, at this point, to be completely hopeless. I don't know what to do right now, and I'm feeling more and more like a failure because I PUT MYSELF IN THIS POSITION AND CANNOT SEEM TO FIND A WAY OUT OF IT.


The Smacketh of the Down Commenceth

Originally posted 03/10/2007:

To whom it may concern:

As of this date, I am requesting your company to cease all telephone communication with me if you are unable to limit your calls to once every 24 hours. I have been receiving upwards of 8 calls per day regarding the status of my loans with Sallie Mae Services. This is unacceptable, and will stop immediately.

According to Federal and Oregon state collection compliance laws, any collection services done by any company to attempt to collect any debt may do so, as long as the person or persons owing said debt is not harassed. Harassment is referred to in legal terms pertaining to behaviors that are found threatening or disturbing, and beyond those that are sanctioned by society.

While it is understood that Sallie Mae services is a first party collector, Federal law prohibits ANY collector from calling more than three times per day to attempt to collect a debt. Oregon state law further protects its inhabitants by limiting the call to ONCE every twenty four hours.

FDCPA (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) broadly defines debt collectors as "any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.”.

§ 803. Definitions [15 USC 1692a]

(4) The term "creditor" means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but such term does not include any person to the extent that he receives an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another.

The following, notated here in bold, has been done by YOUR company to me over a period of 8 months. It is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated further.

§ 806. Harassment or abuse [15 USC 1692d]
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 603(f) or 604(3)1 of this Act.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity.

§ 808. Unfair practices [15 USC 1692f]
A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The collection of any amount (including any interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.
(2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of a check or other payment instrument postdated by more than five days unless such person is notified in writing of the debt collector's intent to deposit such check or instrument not more than ten nor less than three business days prior to such deposit.
(3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument for the purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.
(4) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument prior to the date on such check or instrument.
(5) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by concealment of the true propose of the communication. Such charges include, but are not limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if --
(A) there is no present right to possession of the property claimed as collateral through an enforceable security interest;
(B) there is no present intention to take possession of the property; or
(C) the property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement.
(7) Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card.
(8) Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector's address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.

I have been advised by representatives of your company that you are able to call as many times a day as you “feel like it” - that since you are your own collection company, and a private agency, you are able to do anything you want and are not governed by federal and state laws. I have been additionally advised that, as I was unable to make payments, it should be expected that I will get harassing phone calls, and only by making payments of an unreasonable amount will I end them. I was called a dead-beat and a liar, and was told that I had no rights in regards to my debt with Sallie Mae Services.

At one point I attempted to work with your company and file a forbearance, understanding that I would pay $50 at a specified future date - only to find that the payment was attempted prior to that date, which caused it to bounce, and then caused an overdraft fee with my bank. When called about it, I was told that Sallie Mae was allowed to attempt payment when they felt like it, and did not have to follow through with the date as originally promised.

I have been told that, even after I have filed a forbearance and a payment plan with your company, the collection calls will continue to come through to me until payment is received. I have been told that there is NO WAY to remove my phone number from the automated calling system, and I must simply accept that I will be contacted repeatedly until I repay my debt to Sallie Mae.

I was told at one point that if I paid less than the minimum monthly amount due, Sallie Mae would not accept it, and I would be “in trouble”. I was threatened with further harassment until I was able to pay the minimum monthly amount due on my private loan, and that Sallie Mae had the right to expect that and ONLY that - and that it would be the only way to stop the harassing phone calls.

I am hereby placing Sallie Mae on notice that I will do everything within my power to notify state and federal lawmakers of your inability to follow the fair debt collection act, and of the actions that your employees have made on your behalf, and in your name.

By receiving this fax, Sallie Mae Services hereby agrees that they will no longer contact me via telephone more than once every 24 hours.

Further - the person or persons contacting me will do so in a polite, positive, manner, with a willingness to work with my finances, and will not threaten, harass, jeer, use epithets, or otherwise demean me based upon past payment history with Sallie Mae Services.

This letter will be sent to both Sallie Mae Services complaints department, to Sallie Mae Services Legal department, to the Oregon State Better Business Bureau, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act department, and the Federal Student Loan Ombudsman’s office for a complaint filing.

Thank you.

Doesn't even BEGIN to cover it...

Originally posted 03/08/2007:

Being poor that is... And we're about to get even MORE poor...

In order to get Sallie Mae off my back for a few months, I agreed to a payment plan for the private loan. It's lower than what they originally were asking me to pay ($556/month... of course, if I wanted the interest ONLY it would only be $525/month...), but it's still higher than I can afford to pay. But, at least it shows that I'm trying... The crappy bit: I have to pay February and March right now, plus a $50 fee to set everything up... SO - no more wedding money from this point forward. I'm officially tapped, and I haven't purchased the fabric for my Best Bitch or flower girl, or for Fred and Josh's jackets, or for the remaining portion of my dress... I just don't have it. They want $175 per month - and the first payment is actually a double payment as of March 24th, to "catch me up"... *sigh*

I'm still working on figuring out how bad it's gonna hit, but it'll be pretty harsh, I'm sure. Bleh. Hope everyone in the family likes top ramen and not going out to eat for a while.


2 steps forward, 3 steps back

Originally posted 12/1/2006:

This is a partial post from my other blog...

I *DID* get a phone call from Sallie Mae again - apparently the deferral payment that they were supposed to process today declined... WTF? I got paid today - I checked this morning when I woke up. So, I called them back, and they tried to tell me that yes, it had declined. I said it was impossible, as I got paid today and had over $600 in my bank account at that moment - unless, of course, they'd run the payment PRIOR to me getting paid. And as it's a direct deposit, that would mean they'd run it YESTERDAY. There was a pause, and then they asked for my card # again. They ran it and - lo and behold - it went through just fine. Asshats.

So, all in all not a bad day - just not stellar. I'm going to have to have a stellar weekend, just to make up for it. LOL.


Jesus Wept!

Originally posted 11/17/2006:

So, after I balance my checkbook this morning, pay some bills, and make some calculations, I figure out that I can afford to pay $50 for another deferral for my student loan. IF they pull it from my next paycheck.

SO - I call them up, and speak with a very nice lady there who is actually nice enough to call me back when I end up wandering through a dead spot whilst on the bus running errands. And I get everything squared away. It is around 10 am. I'm feeling rather accomplished - I have some time to get my shit in order, do some OT for work, and generally (hopefully) have enough time to get ammo to help them shoot themselves in the foot come January.

At 11 am, I'm on my way to the bank to get some things notarized, and my phone rings... It says "Unknown" on the caller ID... "Hmmm," I think, "it couldn't be Sallie Mae again - could it?" I answer it, and, lo and behold - IT *IS*!! They start their little intro speil, and I interrupt them right there and:

I say: "I just got off the phone about 45 minutes to an hour ago with another representative, and set up a deferral for my loan. Why are you calling me again?"

BC says: (long pause) "Uh... Um, well, we were, uh, just calling to.. uh... verify the address and phone number that we have on file for you - yeah."

ME: "I see - you mean the address and the phone number that I already verified earlier this morning? When I set up my deferral? (I rattle off the address again at breakneck speed)"

BC: "Uh - ok... Well, then - uh... Thanks." *click*

I swear - a worse way to cover up that you've called the number in error I have NEVER heard... These people must think I'm absolutely stupid.

On the up shot - I have found that if I can pull all my monthly receipts together and prove to Sallie Mae that I cannot afford to make $545 per month payments (and no, I can't make the $500 per month interest only payments, either), they will *HAVE* to provide me with a workable solution as their current monthly payments create a hardship on me.

Also - if, after 5 years, I'm still in hardship, I can go to court and see about having the loan dismissed - as long as I have faithfully attempted to make the payments and keep the loan current.

SO - first order of business is to pull all my monthly receipts together and see what I get. THEN it's off to find the paperwork I need to submit to the FCA Ombuddsman and Sallie Mae to prove that they're full of shit. OH - and I'm going to request from T-Mobile for a list of all my incoming calls so that I can prove that they HAVE been harassing me - and send those in as well...


Well, Fuq'ity!

Originally posted 6/13/2006:

So, in case you just joined our little group here, our heroine (moi) started school in February of 2004 at Western Culinary Institute. Being of (somewhat) sound mind and body, she started out this venture with the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, she would be able to use her culinary powers for good rather than for nothing.

But alas, after 18 months worth of work, she got out of school and found that working for someone else just wasn't for her... Instead, she's been trying to work on a business plan to start up a catering business of her own. Thus far, it's been on the back burner due to other stuff - like taking care of daily business at her current full-time job, and stuff at home.

This would not be so bad but for the fact that the nasty pirate people, a.k.a. Sallie Mae, have managed to completely screw her over. Being unaware that a Federal loan would not be consolidated with their private loan, she consolidated the federal loan down to $60 per month. This, she thought, she could handle with no problem. However, this left the private loan unconsolidated - and now late. The private loan wants $464 per month. Add this to the $60 per month, and we have a ridiculous amount of money that our heroine simply cannot afford and still be able to pay for such silly things like groceries - or RENT.

Ugh! I called Sallie Mae and asked for a consolidation - and was denied. I went to AES and Key Bank and asked for a loan consolidation for everything (via a private loan) and was denied. WaMu doesn't wanna, either. I even went so far as to call a bankruptcy lawyer, who said that I wouldn't want to file for it, as they won't really be able to do much other than re-finance it down to a monthly payment without interest, and that's difficult. So - once my forebearance runs out, I'm going to be in default of a loan - possibly two loans, depending on my finances. Yay me.

The craptastic part is that this is going to sit on my shoulders until I can pay it off. Right now, the amount of the loan is twice the amount of what I get paid per year - before taxes (I would have said gross, but that's just a pun in the making, eh?).

So, anyone know any good sugardaddies wandering around who like red-headed chubby women, and only want to pay for their college education? Bwa-ha-ha-ha. I crack myself up.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Home Base

So, after going through everything with Sallie Mae, I've decided to set up camp here away from my personal blog - I'll link this one through my personal blog, but I really want a place that's specific for this - especially since I have a feeling that things are about to get interesting.

The links here are specific to issues myself and others have had with Sallie Mae, and hopefully will be used to educate those out there to be more aware of who they are borrowing money from, and what to expect.

I'm not saying that ALL creditors are this way - I don't have experience with all of them. But after dealing with Sallie Mae for over a year, I can say that I've become fairly familiar with their Mafioso bully tactics and threatening attitudes. Reading about what others have gone through has proven that indeed, it's not just me. It's something they do to EVERYONE who borrows from them.

So - I will be slowly transferring the posts from my personal blog to here as I get time to do so. Welcome to my nightmare, and hopefully it will benefit others.