I am $37,500 in debt in private student loans through Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae just raised my interest rates to 11%. Although I have been doubling my payments and trying to pay around 1000$ a month my loans are more now than they were when I originally applied for them.
Last week I was contacted by a company called Easier Debt and Priority Documents. They said I was qualified for their program which would dispute my debt with Sallie Mae and then repair my credit after I enrolled in a 30 month program paying an interest free rate of $424.73 monthly. Is this company legit? Will my debt really be disputed with Sallie Mae?
Thank you so much for sending along the information from Easier Debt. I’m afraid that while the information they provided on debt validation, credit reporting, debt collection, and truth in lending does exist, I’m not sure how much applies in your situation.
I’m also not sure if the program you enrolled in is collecting your payments and not sending them to your lender. The interest free comment makes me wonder exactly what you signed up for. On face value it sounds like a plain vanilla debt settlement program where payment is withheld from the creditor in hopes of settling in the future. In some situations that can be a valid strategy. See Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan. But if that is the case, then I want to make sure you are aware of the downside to this approach and the risks you must be willing to face.
If you debt is owned by Sallie Mae or a subsidiary then some of those legal tricks or tactics would not apply to the original creditor.
The most important question here is to get something in writing from Easier Debt about their success rate with others in similar situations. It’s one thing to make promises like, “We pride ourselves in our ability to get you out of this debt in 24 months, and saving you over 70% of what you owe” but it is another to understand how many clients with student loans similar to yours have achieved those results. Do they offer a service guarantee? And are you willing to accept that if payments are not being made on your debt that your student loan balances may go up? So if they are not successful you can wind up owing more than you do now. This is why having a good understanding of the chance of success is so important.
The one regulation they did not seem to include in the documentation they sent to you was the Credit Repair Organizations Act. (CROA). While it appears they would be charging you in advance and offering credit repair services, you should know that advance fees for such services are prohibited. See this. I think when they told you, “In addition to significantly strengthening your credit score, and improving your debt to income ratio” that it could be construed as a credit repair service.
Look, don’t use what I say to judge if they are the right solution for you. Do some homework yourself.
I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.
- The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
- How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off
To help you in your research I contacted Easier Debt to ask some questions, but have not heard back by the time this was published. I also looked at the company using some of the tips in the guides.
Easier Debt says they are located at 18101 Von Karman Ave, Third Floor, Irvine, Ca. 92612. That appears to be a virtual office. – Source
Easier Debt is registered with the State of California and says their office location is 18101 Von Karman Ave, Suite 960, Irvine, CA. The company was formed about seven months ago on February 16, 2016
That happens to be the address of Digital Brand Group. – Source
So it’s not clear to me exactly who is behind this company. But according to CorporationWiki, Easier Debt is a limited liability company whose listed members are Tom Martindale, and Blake Elliott.
The domain name EasierDebt.com was registered on March 14, 2016 and domain ownership is hidden. But before being hidden the domain was owned by a Simonas Balnys and two days later transfered to a Sean Brown. They could just be domain flippers.
So while you are doing your research, there are some things to consider. Do you have a basis for disputing the debt? Do you owe the debt but can’t afford to make the payments anymore? It sounds like you might now be making additional payments but was there a time in the past when you were not?
There are some very valid issues that might make your private student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy. You should read this.
Post your answers in the comments section below and let’s figure out exactly what is going on.
You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.