In the last ten years, I have noticed a disturbing trend. The deregulation of the loan and credit industry has left many americans hurting. I, like many others, have had to take on student loans in the past to pay for the skyrocketing costs of education.
I borrowed from two companies, Sallie Mae and Wachovia. Getting money is easy, its how they act when you miss a payment that shows the true colors.
I simply put the student loan payment cupons in the wrong pile and they didn’t get paid one month. Wachovia never called. They sent me a letter notifying me that I was late and as such had lost certain benifits (e.g. lower interest rates for paying on time). Otherwise, they said that I owed a double payment (may or may not have been a small service fee). No biggie, I cut a check for the full ammount, problem solved.
Sallie Mae on the other hand began a barrage of phone calls and letters. Keep in mind that I was about ready to write a check for the current month so I am only one month behind… not 3 or 6 or 9 months. From the time of the first call until today (7 days) I have recieved 4 letters, and been called upwards of 24 times. The first time I explained that I would have a check in the mail with a day or so. The next call, I explained again and said I had already talked to some one. On the third call in 2 days I started to loose my patience.
This third call is special. I got a little upset and told them that calling every day would not speed up the US post office and that a check was in the mail. She informed me that I would get calls EVERY day until they got their payment. Keep in mind, that this is the first payment I have missed, and the first payment that has been late, and that from the beginning I promised to catch up and pay in full. I have not disputed the fact that I needed to pay nor have I ever refused to do so.
Here I am a week later and still getting calls and being harrassed by Sallie Mae while Wachovia has been both polite and quite reasonable in its efforts to inform me of my mistake.
I might also add tha Sallie Mae is charging me the highest interest rates and that they refused to release my loans when I consolodated them (otherwise I would only be paying Wachovia now). The federal government obviously isn’t looking out for college students these days. I would STRONGLY advise any one who needs to take student loans to stear clear of Sallie Mae at all costs.
Sallie Mae has made themselves into a joke around my place. When they call, we try to think of new ways to mess with their collections people. I truly hope that the calls really are monitored.
UPDATE: 8/22/2007 – They broke their record. I had a total of 5 calls from them in one day! You would think I was a hardened crimial or something.