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Priority Doc Prep Says They Can Eliminate My Student Loan Debt

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Question:

Dear Steve,

I received a call from Priority Documents, a debt relief company, claiming they can have my private student loans eliminated by letting them default, then requesting validation from the Collection Agency.

They then say my credit score will be fixed due to the loan having to be taken off my credit report. Their BBB listing.

Is this a scam? My research tells me it’s not hard to validate a loan according to the FDCPA which doesn’t even state what is exactly needed for verification. I’m worried that my credit will be ruined, as well as fees, late charges, and interest making my loan situation even worse.

On the other side, they tell me they’ve had a 100% success ratio with Navient. Sounds too good to be true. What is your opinion? Thanks so much.

Michael

Attached Document

Answer:

Dear Michael,

I went to the Priority Doc Prep website at prioritydocprep.com and I was surprised that the services they primarily feature on their home page are not related to student loans.

They appear to be more of an immigration assistance company.

Priority Doc Prep describes themselves by saying, “Priority Documents, a document preparation and notary company that delivers a fusion of solutions encompassing consumer document challenges through the United States.” – Source

What they don’t seem to say is they are expert advisers when it comes to dealing with student loan issues. Are you looking for someone to fill out forms for you? If so then Priority Doc Prep or any other document preparation company could assist you.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1. You Got an Inbound Call – It sounds like you got a sales call trying to sell you a service. Nothing wrong with that but you need to weigh the sales claims against what you are looking for.

2. Not Everything Adds Up – I have no idea what you were told but I do understand what you believe you heard. It is your understanding that your “credit score will be fixed due to the loan having to be taken off my credit report.” Without proof from the company that 100 percent of loans are removed off credit reports and you not being charged any upfront fees for the service, I’d rate that as pants on fire.

If the company is saying they will repair your credit and charging you an advance fee, then there are certainly issues with the Credit Repair Organizations Act which says no advance fee can be charged.

In my experience, while Navient will settle some private student loans for less than is owed, I would love to see some authoritative source saying that loans will be nullified. I would rate that as a suspicious claim worth further investigation.

3. Debt Validation Letters – If you are looking for specific legal advice if a lender can not legally validate a debt, then you need to hire a lawyer who is licensed in your state. One place to find such an attorney is through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau makes sample validation letters available online.

The bigger issue isn’t if the lender can’t provide you with a statement on the debt to validate it but if the lender could produce the underlying note and documentation to prove the debt is legally valid and/or collectible. That seems like something outside the scope of a company that says they just fill out forms. That seems like something you would need a legal opinion for.

You are correct in noticing that there is currently no standard in validation. But there is some guidance, see this and this.

I have written about the bigger issue with private student loan notes. See this and this.

4. Worried About Your Credit – Your question about hurting your credit is interesting. There is no need for you to become delinquent on your debt to ask for proof or evidence of the underlying loan so I don’t know why you would fall behind.

But if you are going to default then it will be reported on your credit and will most likely impact your score. In some cases when the loans are unaffordable, defaulting can be a logical approach but there are consequences. Read Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan.

Bottom Line

If you want to hire someone to fill out some forms for you, hire a document preparation company. If you want to hire someone to provide you with legal representation and a legal opinion, hire an attorney who is licensed in your state.

So I’m left with the basic underlying issue here of if you hire any document preparation company to fill out some forms for you, without a lawyer to represent you or offer a legal opinion on the results, how are they going to provide you with legal advice?

Here is some general advice you can use to checkout any company.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

As a final note, I did happen to search the address for the company on their website, 8690 Aero Drive, Suite 115-110, San Diego, CA 92123, and it appears to be a mail drop at a company called Aero Mail, which is also a notary company.


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