I was dealing with a reader submission when I stumbled across a class-action lawsuit filed against Equitable Acceptance, SLF Center, and Integra Student Solutions in 2018. The case is still active and ongoing.
I also came across this court document that says any consumer that owes Equitable Acceptance for student loan assistance, does not have to pay them. But that is a different case.
In the 2018 class-action they plaintiffs alledge that the student loan assistance scheme “is masterminded by Defendant Equitable Acceptance Corporation (“EAC”), and depends on the coordinated efforts of EAC and individual “Dealers,” including Defendants SLF Center, LLC (“SLF Center”), Integra Student Solutions, LLC (“Integra”), and up to forty-one other companies (“Doe Dealers”).”
According to the legal complaint filed, “EAC extends each borrower an entirely new loan, in the form of a maxed-out “line of credit” for the full price of the services. The total cost is amortized over multiple years, with a sky-high annual interest rate of almost 21%—with the effect that borrowers end up owing EAC hundreds of dollars more than the already inflated purchase price. EAC secures borrowers’ agreement to these usurious terms by deliberately disguising the nature and true cost of the credit it is extending.
EAC in turn pays the Dealers, which are rewarded for each new loan generated long before the Borrowers realize the Dealers’ promises of loan “forgiveness” were false. At best, the Dealers enroll borrowers in programs available for free—often by falsely impersonating the Borrower. At worst, the Dealers take steps (some irrevocable) that effectively raise the Borrowers’ student loan interest rates, balances, repayment terms, or all of the above. If and when Borrowers realize what has happened, EAC blames the Dealers for the purported services, but continues to extract payments on its own loan with the threat of negative credit reporting.
The Scheme depends on the coordinated efforts of both EAC and the Dealers, which must engage in concerted unlawful activity for the Scheme to succeed.”
The suit filed states there are 60,000 consumers who are subject to this issue.
The suit also lists a number of complaints filed with the BBB and CFPB about the financing arrangement or relationship with Equitable Acceptance.
I’ll keep an eye on this case for updates.
By the way, the case filed by the Federal Trade Commission that also names Equitable Acceptance is still ongoing as well.