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.