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Student Loans: What Simple Miscommunication Can Do

More than 7 million graduates default on student loans – that’s a massive number. Some of the time these people simply can’t afford to pay the monthly loan rate (and often do not know about the various options that exist), so defaulting simply happens. Other times, though, defaulting on a loan happens due to miscommunication.

Think Big

It helps to think of student loan companies as massive businesses. As with any other business, there are people that handle customer service and do things like make phones calls in order to collect on a debt. These people punch in and out of their jobs every day and follow protocol. However, just like any other person, mistakes often happen, and when these mistakes happen it could mean that you’ll wind up defaulting on your loan.

Here’s a good example: you have fallen behind on your loan, so you call the student loan company to make arrangements. The person you speak with on the phone assures you that because you have called to make these arrangements, you will not default on your loan. You hang up the phone and go about your business. A month later, you start getting phone calls from debt collection companies claiming that you have defaulted on your loan. What happened and what can you do about it?

The Problem

It’s not enough to make an arrangement with someone on the phone. Why? Because that person might not do their job. When this happens, anything that you have discussed goes out the window, and now it’s up to you to prove that this is really what happened. Sure, student loan companies claim that conversations are recorded, but getting those recordings is very difficult and requires the help of a legal team.

There’s a better way to handle student loan payment arrangements. Put it in writing. That’s right, grab a piece of paper and a pen, write down the arrangement that you made, the person’s name or ID number that made the arrangement, the date and time, and mail that letter (registered) to the student loan company (make a copy), so that you have proof. This is the only way to guarantee that any arrangement you made will stick. This is exactly what I did when my student loan company made a deal with me. I put the pen to paper and made them eat their own words over 1 year later.

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