Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hey look! Trollers!

Yeah, apparently the good ol' boys (and possibly girls, too) from Sallie Mae are out in force today, trolling for those of us who are posting about our issues with their underhanded tactics.

They're trying to claim that we lead extravagant lives, refuse to pay our bills because we're irresponsible, and that we should have read the fine print to begin with.

They tell us that we need to simply buckle down, quit paying for that brand new car we just purchased, and give up the house we just put a huge mortgage on, and lead decent, bill-paying lives - oh, and pay up and on time to Sallie Mae because we should have known better than to expect we could get away with not paying our bills at all.

I don't know about anybody else, but I don't have a new car. Hell, I don't even have *A* car, let alone a new car. As for the house, I live in an apartment that my now-husband had been living in when we got together. He's been here now 8 years... and we don't intend on moving not because the rates are good, but because moving is above our means.

The fact of the matter is, these wonderful trolls are telling us everything that we have told ourselves while we beat ourselves up, trying to figure a way out of the financial mess that we've gotten into. Regardless of who signed the paperwork, and who agreed to do what, the bottom line is, we are stuck with high interest rates, exorbatant monthly payments, and no recourse to lower them because the company is having too much fun collecting from our sorry butts to even think of assisting us.

We have had to choose between paying rent or paying our student loan. We've had to, at times, choose between paying for food or paying our student loan. We aren't talking about the payment on the brand new Jag, or the new 4-bedroom house. We're talking basic necessities that Human Rights activists have been lobbying for years to get people in third world countries. Housing, Food, and basic medical care. When we must choose between one of these things and paying a student loan, there's something wrong with the system - especially when we could do all of it IF we were allowed to work out a more reasonable payment plan than $500-$700/month - and 80% of that being interest!

Honestly, I hope that Sallie Mae is paying these people a good amount of money for surfing the net in hopes of bullying us more. And I hope that somehow, that money helps salve their conscience after they read what their own company has done to thousands upon thousands of us without a lick of remorse. And I hope that someday, somehow, revenge in the way of sweet, sweet Karmic justice, will serve a HUGE helping of crow to these people for even THINKING that this was an ok job for them to follow through with.

Meanwhile, I'm going to set comments to members only - it means that you will HAVE to identify yourself before you can post. While at times I have found these trolls to be amusing, it is tedious and tiresome at this stage.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update from Alan Collinge

Hey guys,

So at least 2 dozen of our members have been interviewed over the past three weeks by a ton of papers, including the NY Times, Seattle Times, Wall Street Journal, Illinois Times, the Journal Sentinel, Chonicle of Higher Education, and a few others. Also, our members have been interviewed by Tavis Smiley, CNN, and a couple of local TV stations, one of which has aired. So far, however, nothing has made it into ink. We're also booked for some radio show in September in the Silicon Valley area. So these guys are basically sitting on the stories. My hope is that when the NY Times thing goes, the others will follow their lead, take their stories of the shelves, and publish.

In the meantime, keep pressing the issue with local reporters.

Also, there's been alot of people wanting to have a forum to meet and discuss with other borrowers. We tried this on Yahoo for a year or so, but the chatroom got inundated by lurkers working for the student loan industry. However, I have created another such room on Google. [please contact me privately for the link, to avoid being spammed or trolled too early... ~M]

There are currently no members in this group, so hop on in, and get a discussion going if you wish! This is a public forum, so we can expect it to get overun eventually, but for now it is completely safe.



Monday, August 11, 2008

Recent postings...

I've been getting a LOT of comments and emails recently regarding Sallie Mae and their treatment of their debtors. The following are comments that have been made in just the past 5 days on both my "personal" blog, and on this one. I'm posting them in an actual blog because I don't want other readers to think they're alone. You're not. You are part of a much larger group of people, all of whom are repeatedly having issues with Sallie Mae as a lender. You are not alone, you are not a horrible person for asking for understanding from them, and you are not the only one getting flack and poor customer service when you do so.

There is a reason that Alan Collinge started the PAC - to help take the blinders off of society, and make known Sallie Mae's dirty little Million-dollar secrets. There is a reason why they make millions of money off of defaulted loans, and give their CEO's raises in excess of 5% per year - on an income that's already 6 or 7 figures. There's a reason why according to opening comments made in their 2003 Annual report, Former CEO (Now Chairman) Albert Lord (who with his wife personally contributed over $250,000 to senators and Congressmen in support of education legislation in just the last election cycle) boasts that the company's 29% core cash earnings-per-share growth could be attributed largely to fees collected from defaulted loans, as well as loan origination growth.

Their collectors are bottom-feeders, who will do anything to suck the American people dry however they possibly can. Their "customer service" people are less-than-human, who aren't interested in anything but their commision for getting payments regardless of the harm inflicted upon the debtor.

Please review these comments and emails, add your own if you wish, and go . Share your story, contact your local congresscritter, make a newspaper or local magazine listen to you - shout on the streetcorner if necessary, even. Just do something to make yourself - and others- heard. If at all possible (and I know, it's hard to find the extra quarters for laundry, let alone something else), make a donation to the cause. Alan has been funding this venture largely on his own, and has been doing so since 2005. Recently, he quit his job to devote his time soley to this cause. He makes NO money doing this, he does this for everyone who has been (and will be) screwed up and/or over, by student loan lenders like Sallie Mae.

"First of all, I appreciate the work that you have put into chronicling your issues on this website. Thank you.

"What I wanted to know is how much time has salliemae been taking to respond to inquiries to the pr department, and with how much consistency?


"Hi, I stumbled upon your blog when I was surfing 'SALLIE MAE RIP OFF' on the internet after getting pissed at them again. I really enjoy your insightful and intelligent commentary.

"I don't have any where near the same amount of problems as you or some of the other people I've read about do but I feel like me time is coming.

"I was wondering if you had any information on the terms "Adjusted Monthly Income" and "Discretionary Income". I am filling out economic hardship paperwork now but I make a little too much in my Gross Monthly Income to qualify. I live in Los Angeles and I can tell you, I can't afford a $400 payment each month on top of my normal bills, rent, gas, food, health insurance and so on. I know other people cope by using credit cards but I REFUSE TO LIVE ON CREDIT!!! If I can't afford it than I'm not doing it! I don't even drive my car except to and from work!

"I know I have a fight on my hands with Sallie Mae but I was hoping you could give me some advice or point me in the right direction.



"Other than the 8 to 12 phone calls I and my 80-year old parents receive on our phones every day, what else can I expect from Sallie?

"I too just had a terrible experience, they are calling everyone in my family even people I don't talk to and I have an agreement with them that I was to make a payment. I called to complain to a supervisor named James Carter. I told him I was calling to make a payment as I promised and that I wanted the harassing calls to stop or we will have to get an attorney. He said this " Let me get this straight. You are going to get an attorney. Attorneys cost money. Which you obviosuly don't have or you wouldn't be late or had to get a cosigner on your account because your credit wasn't good enough to get your own student loan. Am I getting this right? Talk is cheap and we will call you every hour on the hour until you deal with this." I asked his name and he said "James Carter... now make sure you write it down now!" I hung up on him and my husband called him back and said I thought you work for Sallie Mae, yet someone calls in to make a payment and you harass them to the point they have to hang up. He said " i could care less if she makes a payment, I wont lose any sleep at night". You had to hear the tone of his voice. It was like that sneery. I totally pictured that this guy is some short, bald guy, with a small you know what, who abuses his employees and his power. He cheats on his wife, his kids hate him, he prob. tries to look down the shirts of all the women in his office when he isn't talking down to them and intimidating them. So I had to call a different department to make a payment. My suggestion to everyone is this. RECORD YOUR CALLS!!!! I should have let the asshold keep going as I would have had more abusive comments because that is what he was doing. It was abusive and harassment and I am reporting them to every agency I can find. And if Sallie mae doesn't repremand this guy or fire him, I will default on my loans and leave the country. I would rather live in a box then let those people get one cent from me if they allow this man to abuse people like that. His name is JAMES CARTER and he is in the repayment department. I think everyone should call JAMES every hour on the hour and to tell him he is an asshole. lol


"Sallie Mae harrasses my husband several times a day. Basically the same as all of the above, but they also call MY dad several times a day and he has absolutly nothing to do with my husband's loans. They will not speak to me at all even though when the loans were first set up; it was based on my income-he did not work at the time. He had grants that were returned and he was forced to have his Mother cosign for supposedly one loan for like 3,000 and it turned out to be 9,000 and gave her the privilage of sallie mae calls reguarding all of his loans. Our income has declined by a lot because the place I was working closed and he STILL hasn't found a job to pay for all of his ITT Technical associates degree$50,000 DEBT. They call or the computer calls and it's not a once a day thing, more like 5-6 times a day and try for foreberance and whatever else "help" they offer but our income is to low to qualify for any of it.


"Sallie Mae is a sink hole, both monetary and psychological, for anyone who wants to further their education. I've been able to keep up with my payments of apprx. $600/month ONLY because I moved back in with my parents after graduating with an 18mo. degree.

"I never found a job in my field, as the school I had gone to over-exaggerated on the availability of jobs in legal administration. I work one full-time and one part-time job, and the full-time paycheck is sucked up by SM every month. There is no way in hell i'd be able to pay for my own room and board without finding a LAA job, and even then money would be tight.

"So, I joined the Navy, scored well on my asvab, and was given the option of having the federal portion of my loan paid off by them in exchange for a 6 year service agreement. Since the federal bit is the largest part ($19k out of $27k), I agreed and started filing my LRP forms.

"SM, my lender, is under obligation to release my loan information on my request, especially under these circumstances. You'd think they would be more compliant since they are getting a nice chunk of change handed to them at once, but they keep sending my LRP forms back saying they cannot release my loan information to me or anybody else if they didn't want to. I guess they really don't want to lose out on the interest.

"I've got about two weeks to file these papers, or I lose my LRP bonus. My next step will be talking to JAG about getting a warrant or subpoena or SOMETHING to get them to release my info.

"Its probably not something you'd consider after reading your SM blog, but I think they'll be able to help me. I'll comment again later to let you know if they end up complying or if I end up losing my bonus.


As you can see, Sallie Mae has stooped to even attacking and denying assistance to those who would defend our country, who would take up arms against an enemy, and literally give their life if necessary to help preserve American freedoms. How self-centered and asinine can you get?

Again, please go to and share your story, and donate if at all possible. Contact your local newspaper, news channel, go to a local school and hand out flyers telling your story and letting them know what Studentloanjustice stands for. Do what you can, and let yourself be heard.