I have a private student loan with Sallie Mae. I got this loan to go to a computer training school in Massachusetts. I now live in California. They are threatening to default if I do not pay $842 by August 8th. I am not refusing to pay them, I am just not able to make the entire payment by that date.
I have not called them about the payment yet. To be honest I am terrified to speak to them because every time I do they go out of their way to incite an argument, I will not yell and scream, but they do. They are generally verbally abusive and terribly rude. I have also been receiving phone calls from them starting at 5:30am, since my loan went into collections. My cell phone is a Massachusetts number, but I live in California. I have told them repeatedly to stop calling me that early, they have apologize and said that yes, that is much too early to be calling me, but then they continue to do it and call me every morning at 5:30am.
Are they allowed to default my loan if I am not able to make the entire payment? Are they obligated to work with me, or can they default even I offer to make a partial payment?
Is it legal for them to be calling me at 5:30am?
When it comes to a private loan, do borrowers have any rights at all? What are collection officers allowed to say and not allowed to say to me? Is there any kind of conduct code they must follow, or are they allowed to treat me like dirt?
Well there is something called the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) which says what collectors can and can’t do. The problem is that it does not apply to the original creditor, but to appointed outside collectors on behalf of the debt owner.
Since Sallie Mae is the original creditor this does not apply to them. In California there is a similar piece of legislation called the “Rosenthal Act” that most mirrors the provisions of the FDCPA.
- Hours for phone contact: contacting consumers by telephone outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time
- Failure to cease communication upon request: communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after receiving written notice that said consumer wishes no further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt, with certain exceptions, including advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies where permitted
- Causing 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.
- Communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer
- Contacting consumer known to be represented by an attorney
- Communicating with consumer after request for validation: communicating with the consumer or the pursuing collection efforts by the debt collector after receipt of a consumer’s written request for verification of a debt (or for the name and address of the original creditor on a debt) and before the debt collector mails the consumer the requested verification or original creditor’s name and address
- Misrepresentation or deceit: misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collector’s misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer
- Publishing the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list
- Seeking unjustified amounts, which would include demanding any amounts not permitted under an applicable contract or as provided under applicable law
- Threatening arrest or legal action that is either not permitted or not actually contemplated
- Abusive or profane language used in the course of communication related to the debt
- Communication with third parties: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer’s spouse or attorney) or threatening such action
- Contact by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business
- Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection
SallieMae is notorious for being hard nosed collectors. Once you fall behind they no longer seem to be the same friendly people that lent you the money to begin with.
To overcome the phone issue I would keep a log of their calls if this matter escalates and/or change your telephone number on the phone.
SallieMae has no programs to let people enter affordable repayment plans like government backed student loans do.