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  • This was on one of their emails to me. It could have something to do with why they’re willing to accept so little or nothing at all. As long as you admit to the debt.

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    “We are required by regulation of the New York State Department of Financial Services to notify you of the
    following information. This information is NOT legal advice:
    Your creditor or debt collector believes that the legal time limit (statute of limitations) for suing you to collect this
    debt may have expired. It is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C.§ 1692 et seq., to sue to
    collect on a debt for which the statute of limitations has expired. However, if the creditor sues you to collect on
    this debt, you may be able to prevent the creditor from obtaining a judgment against you. To do so, you must tell
    the court that the statute of limitations has expired.
    Even if the statute of limitations has expired, you may choose to make payments on the debt. However, be aware:
    if you make a payment on the debt, admit to owing the debt, promise to pay the debt, or waive the statute of
    limitations on the debt, the time period in which the debt is enforceable in court may start again.
    If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options, you can …

    • Back in 2007, my loan went in default and shortly thereafter i started getting garnishments from my checks of about $485 a month. At the time, I didn’t know anything about default so I just assume that since money was being taking out of my checks monthly that I was good and loan was being paid. Shortly thereafter, my wife and I received a letter from the Dept of Ed. stating there’s a program that if you make 120 payments on your student loan then after this period of time what’s left on loan would be basically wiped cleaned. So i’m thinking ok I’m in this program since I recieved this letter and money being taking out check monthly. So I’m good in 2017 around October to be exact. Well in 2016, with less than a year left, I decided to call Dept of Ed. just to see what i would need to do in the next coming months. Well to my surprise i learned that my loan was still in default and was with ACT. I called the number and spoke w a rep. Now I’m upset to have learned that I made about 108 payments what i thought was going towards a loan. I’ve paid over $52,000 to Account Control Technology only to find out I still owe Dept of Ed. over $66,000. Can anyone please advise if there’s any action that can be done.

  • First off, a collection agency should not be giving personal advice on how to manage your debts OR be speaking for ANY other agency.

    Same goes for any company that you have business with. A plumber should not be giving you advice on electrical issues. That’s not their business. Period. A phone number to a company might be ok, but not particulars in how that other company operates their business or what that business can/cannot do.

    The good reason behind this is that the company they are referencing may have changed businesses practices overnight and “the plumber” wouldn’t know because they are (hopefully) not in business with the “electrician”.

    The FACT that an employee of this company might know some ins and outs of FSL and how it works is indicative of either their tight affiliation with another for-profit company (creating a monopolistic anti-trust environment that works against the free market and choice of the consumer); or, it may indicate the employee’s inability to remain professional and avoid giving out personal financial advice as if they are a personally hired CPA.

    Collection agencies should keep it about collecting the one debt and the one file they have in front of them and that’s it.

    Collection agents would do well to pay more extreme caution and attention to
    U.S. Code › Title 15 › Chapter 41 › Subchapter V : Consumer Credit Protection

    It seems more agents are either poorly trained or choose to ignore these LAWS.

    That will get them fired and get the collection agency in hot water with the FTC.

    In your case, stop taking advice about electrical issues from plumbers. Don’t choose to blindly believe everything you’re told.

    That’s why we have USC 15. Too many consumers, their employers, their family and friends were being harassed and abused by collection agencies.

    Read it. Know your rights and what you can do about it

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/chapter-41

  • I’ve been being HARRASSED by ACT for several months now. I explained to them that I don’t HAVE any student loans outstanding, that ALL my student loans were repaid by 1994, (I graduated in 1991 at the age of 34), and that I have NOT been back to school of any type since i graduated in ’91. I then told them that whatever information they have is incorrect and to please STOP calling me. They continue to call to this day.

    As for the comments that collection agencies are all professional in manner and courteous, and we should treat them with respect. BULLCRAP!! In 2001 I was was injured at work, and subsequently fired because of it. The injury resulted in a 100% disability. After the injury, and before long term disability insurance kicked in, I was collecting only work comp which covered only about 1/4 of my regular pay. In the six months leading up to long term disability, we went through all of our savings, all of my 401k, all of our stock portfolio…basically everything to keep up with the bills. When all the money ran out, the sharks began to circle and the phone calls from collection agencies started. Without exception their responses were that they didn’t CARE about my situation and that I was basically garbage for defaulting on my bills. Several even used the statement, “I don’t care about your problems. You owe us money so you meed to pay up”. Another said, “Waa, waa, waa. That’s your problem and I don’t care”.
    We ended up having to file bankruptcy which took care of the collection agencies and they got exactly what they deserved: NOTHING.

    I have zero respect for people who work in that industry. .

  • Chelle,

    Your question is a bit involved for an email answer, but I’ll share a few thoughts.

    First, ACT is a collection agency and they want to get you to repay your debt. Yes, there is a part of the William D. Ford program for addressing loans in defaults and you may be able to get things straight in this way but you would not do that through a collection agency. Go back to the guarantor of you loan and ask about getting a new loan.  Don’t expect to get a loan for more education while you are in default on another loan. Loans in default cannot be reduced due to income limits.  Call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY 1-800-730-8913) to discuss the possibility of income based repayment following a new loan..

    You do need to act soon. ACT is not in business to be nice to you and if you don’t take some action they will. As soon as you start working they will garnish your wages and if you wait long enough they will garnish your Social Security income. 

    Good Luck!

    • MSullivan:
      Thank you for your reply. I did call the number you provided and they referred me to the federal direct loan agency at 1-800-433-3243 and I asked the representative all of my questions. She verified that all of the statements that the loan coordinator at ACT were actually true. It takes approximately 8-12 weeks to process the application (and the appllication that ACT sent to me is the same application that the federal direct loan agency would have sent me) and once processed, my loans will be out of default. She advised me to select the income contingency option and that my payments would be adjusted based on wages earned or be zero if my yearly income is below the federal poverty line. Additionally I will be able to apply for more grants (& loans if I was completely out of my mind) to go back to school once the application has been processed. Hope this info helps anyone else in this situation.
      Chelle

        • With all due respect, he got terrible advice. Msullivan only gave the original poster a # to call that any A.C.T. employee could have given to verify all the information he was told.

          Msullivan told the original poster not to trust A.C.T. and then was slanderous implying that bill collectors are terrible people.

          He said that addressing the OP’s loan would NOT be done through the collection agency, which is also wrong.

          The best advice to give anybody in debt is to just be polite. The collector wants to help you get out of debt just as much as you want to be out of debt. It’s a service industry.

          The theme of any collection agency I’ve seen has been respect for the clients. Corporations that collect on debt understand that situations happen to where people fall behind on bills, the job of the collector is to help find a solution to a problem by offering payment plans, payment options, government programs, or even settlements.

          Some borrowers are rude, heartless, and thankless people who see collections as a burden. I will never understand people who will use a service, and then not pay for it, then get upset when the bill is due… Do these people do the same thing at restaurants? Or after a car repair?

          But then there are people who have all the intent in the world of getting things straightened out and leading a life as a polite and decent member of society. I am on a first name basis with all of them and remember parts of their lives without any computer.

          Rarely I will get a call after the debt is paid or I’ll receive a letter thanking me for my time and effort month after month keeping up to date with someone Else’s situation, but that’s what makes the job worth while.

          The top collectors I’ve seen are mothers. Caring and patient, but they also are guiding and can be firm when need be. 80% of the collection workforce is female and it’s not because they’re demanding or rude like collectors are often portrayed.

          Again I leave with: “The best advice to give anybody in debt is to just be polite. The
          collector wants to help you get out of debt just as much as you want to
          be out of debt.”

          -A student loan collector

          • I totally agree. There is no need to be rude and it can pay dividends to work cooperatively with a collector.

            Do you collect on private student loans?

          • I do. And I’m always nice about it .

            People don’t realize how easy it is to talk to a collector and how beneficial it can be. Like I said, the last thing a collector wants is wage garnishment or having to withhold taxes. We are willing to work out something manageable. I have about 70% of my clients on plans that only cost $5 a month. Anybody can call the Department of Education and ask about it, it is an honest and legal system set up by the United States Government to try to help people out.

            If anybody needs help with advice on student loans, I’m the guy.

          • So what advice do you have for people who need help with private student loans like an IBR or how to best settle a private student loan and what to expect.

          • I was just called by ACT today, for defaulted student loans. I was also told that: 1. I could be considered a “hardship” case and arrange a payment I could afford (9-10 mo.); 2. When plan was completed, the default would be removed from my credit report, and I could then make payment arrangements with the lender as a borrower in good standing, including deferment; 3. They had to have 3 references (peeps I don’t live with) before they could give me an estimate. Here’s my question: do they collect interest? Will my interest rates go sky high after the rehabilitation period? This is my first communication with a collection agency. They were very polite, but I don’t know if I can trust them, or where I should seek advice.

          • I’m not aware of any penalty interest rate but interest will continue to accrue. Since this is a government backed loan (and you very lucky it is) the process is fixed. If you ever have any concerns or want to very what the outside collector is telling you, feel free to verify the information directly with the Department of Education collections unit. 1-800-621-3115

            The collector should not mind that you verify the information since it will help to ease your mind and move forward cooperatively.

          • Yes, they asked me for 2 references as well and said they could not enroll me in some sort of program that would help me without them. I was like… I’m sorry, I’m not giving you contact info for people I know that don’t even know I am in default for a loan, nor is it their business. That was the major issue I had. I told the rep I am more than happy to pay my amount per month, and I will, but I’m not giving “reference” info. I am paying on time monthly now but did not enrolled in whatever it was.

          • I have been paying $50 monthly for almost year now. IT has been debited automatically taken out of my account. The fed gov (I guess it was them? Not ACT LOL) took my tax year. Will they take it this year?

    • Actually, you’re wrong, sorry.
      The Department of Education contracts A.C.T. to collect on your loan, so contacting the Department of Education will only get you redirected back to A.C.T.

      Secondly, A.C.T. tries to be as friendly as possible to any borrower. Dignity and respect are far more likely to help someone understand their situation and options they have to remove their debt from default.

      Wage garnishment is the last resort for collections. If your account is placed into wage garnishment then the company who is collecting on your loan gets nothing above what the Department of Education would pay for a collection fee, which is barely enough to pay employees for the time used to try to help someone get their life in order.

      Student Loan rehabilitation is a very common program from the department of education since 17 trillion dollars in student loans are in default currently. The government is trying desperately to get people to start making payments, even if they’re small.

      You are right, don’t expect to get a loan while in default, you said it yourself, but Student Loan Rehabilitation removes a loan from default after 9 months and the borrower would be eligible for chapter 4 again.

      Collectors have a bad image due to people like you who don’t know what they are talking about. A lot has changed since the 60’s. People who have a pleasant experience don’t tell their friends about how nice the collector was who helped them get their life in order, but the ignorant person who just hangs up the phone constantly and is nasty will always tell everyone they know how “terrible” collectors are. It’s the fault of the consumer, not the collector.

      • My loan went into wage garnishment and ACT tacked on $5,872 in Collection Fees to my outstanding balance of $37k. They are a For-Profit Corporation, so please refrain from portraying them as anything else. They are in the business of collecting as much debt as possible and assessing fees (liability) to individuals who are in debt. They are not a service provider for the debtor by any means.

        Word of advice, don’t agree to anything over the phone with a collection agency. Get it in writing. I’ve made the mistake of making scheduled payments for over a year per my verbal agreement with ACT only to have them tell me that the conditions were completely different than as discussed and it cost me an additional 9 months of high payments because someone didn’t enter my paperwork correctly.

      • Absolute bullshit. Debt collectors, especially the predatory scam artists like ACT, are SCUM. The Department of Education gets its money back through keeping your tax refunds. For some “debt collector” to come along and claim they “own” your “debt” and expect you to pay them means you’d be paying TWICE on one loan–and that, my friends, is ILLEGAL.

        Don’t give them ANY information, don’t confirm your name, and use the word “alleged” when referring to debt. Because it’s a debt they allege you owe them. You don’t. You owe it to the Department of Education, and the IRS is already on it, if you pay taxes.

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