You should check to see if your loan holder has an ombudsman program or customer advocate unit.
Complaints About Private Collection Agencies
It is a good idea to let the Department of Education, guaranty agency, or other loan holder know if you are having problems with a collection agency. The agencies all claim that they take complaints seriously. The only way to test this is to try it. You should keep a copy of your written complaint and any responses you get.
We also encourage you to tell us about your experiences with student loan collectors and your efforts to resolve problems.
U.S. Department of Education Collection Agencies
Each of the Department’s contracted collection agencies has set up a “Special Assistance Unit” to address customer concerns. If your account is assigned to one of the contracted collection agencies, and you have concerns about their servicing of your account, the Department of Education requests that you call the Default Resolution Group call center at 1-800-621-3115. They will direct you to the correct Special Assistance Unit personnel.
If the Special Assistance Unit is not able to resolve your concern, you may file a written complaint. The Department of Education says that the Default Resolution Group takes all complaints seriously and takes action as necessary to resolve the issue. To file a written complaint, you should send a letter with any evidence to: Chief of Contract Analysis and Compliance US Department of Education 61 Forsyth Street, SW 19T89 Atlanta, GA 30303
Collection agencies should give out this information in their communications with borrowers. You should keep a copy in your records of this letter and any responses you get. You can also file an on-line complaint with the Department’s Default Division.
According to the Department’s 2009 Private Collection Agency Manual, each collection agency is required to have at least two people designated to receive and manage complaints. If you are having trouble dealing with a collection agency, ask for the designated “complaint” person. You should let the Department of Education know if their contractors are not complying with these requirements. Note: There is a more recent version of the Private Collection Agency Manual, but the Department has not made it public. We will post new information as we get it.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaints
The FTC collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft. This includes complaints about collection agencies.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Student Loan Complaints
The CFPB has an on-line complaint system. When you file the complaint, you can let them know if you have a federal loan, private loan, or if you don’t know what type you have.
State and Local Consumer Protection Agencies
State and local consumer protection agencies as well as state Attorney General offices accept consumer complaints.