Are you one of the millions of Americans in default on your student loans? If so, legal developments in 2017 should have you on high alert and ready to seek help from a student loan lawyer.
Student Loan Lawyers Fighting for Consumers
Two 2017 lawsuits have exposed the dark side of the student loan industry already described as unfair and distressful for borrowers and generally out of control. Both cases involve dubious and illegal practices by student loan debt collectors that worked for huge lenders. Continued investigations likely will expose additional illegal practices.
In addition, the federal government reportedly has expanded its privatized collection program. Finally, the Trump Administration plans to consolidate federal student loan servicing under one company. What do these changes mean to you? If you are in default, they make it more likely that you will be sued by the debt collector.
Robyn Smith, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, recommended that if you’ve been served with a lawsuit, get an attorney who specializes in debt collection and credit reporting issues. Take the papers to a student loan attorney as soon as possible and before your scheduled court appearance. By ignoring the papers, you literally give the creditor a default judgment against you.
Investigation in the National Collegiate Case Showed That Some Debtors with a Student Loan Attorney Got Their Cases Dismissed for Lack of Evidence
The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) charged National Collegiate, which services private student loans, and its debt collector Transworld for filing lawsuits against borrowers based on false or misleading documents. According to the Washington Post, the CFPB investigation showed that Transworld filed 95,000 lawsuits nationally, including 2,000 without proof of ownership of the debt, resulting in a recovery of $21 million in judgments. Student debt lawyers won dismissals for their clients in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Texas based on Transworld’s lack of necessary documentation.
As part of a consent order, the two companies agreed to pay damaged borrowers $3.5 million. If you are a National Collegiate customer, contact the CFPB or a student loan attorney to determine if you are eligible for damages.
If You Are a Navient Customer You May Want to Consult a Student Loan Attorney to Learn If You Have a Claim Against the Company
The CFPB and three states have sued Navient, the largest servicer for student loans, for alleged illegal activity which cost borrowers millions
According to a New York Times article, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said that the misdeeds could affect every customer and that damages could be billions of dollars. Navient collects payments on private and government loans for banks, the government, and other lenders.
Reportedly, the allegations include cheating borrowers out of their rights to lower payments, defaulting rather than discharging the debts of the totally disabled, and steering borrowers away from cheaper income-based repayment plans.
Consult a School Loan Attorney If You Believe a Student Loan Debt Collector Is Acting Illegally
Student loans burden 88 million Americans. Borrowers should not be exploited by greedy or incompetent loan servicers or their debt collectors.
The Federal Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA) applies to collectors of school loan debts. The FDCPA specifically forbids these collection activities:
- The use of conduct which is likely to harass, oppress, or abuse a consumer regarding the collection of a debt.
- The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
- The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
- The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency.
- The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
- The act of allowing 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.
- The placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity
Congress passed this law to protect you from any type of debt collector harassment. If you are uncertain whether or not a debt collector harassing you, contact an attorney who is experienced in protecting your rights under the FDCPA.
If a debt collector has been hounding you, to speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have experience in assisting those with student loans, fighting debt collectors, and standing up for consumers. If a debt buyer has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you’re entitled to file suit in federal court and could be awarded up to $1,000 and other damages.