Department of Education Feedback System
The Department of Education’s online feedback system allows students, parents, borrowers, and others to submit complaints. The Department says it will provide timely, “meaningful resolution” to the issues raised through this system and use the information to improve the programs. You can submit information about applying for and receiving federal aid, experiences with servicers, collectors and the Department, and schools’ administration of federal student aid programs.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Student Loan Complaints
Complaints About Private Collection Agencies
You should 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.
U.S. Department of Education Collection Agencies
Each of the Department’s contracted collection agencies should have 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 are supposed to 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.
You can also submit an on-line complaint about collection agencies using the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Feedback system.
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: Although the most recent, complete version of the government private collection agency manual is from 2009, NCLC recently obtained through a FOIA request a more recent, redacted version from May 2016. In the 2016 manual, the Department states that agencies must have accessible complaint systems for borrowers to submit complaints by email, regular mail, agency website, fax or telephone. Agencies must designate at least two employees to manage and receive complaints.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaints
The FTC collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft. This includes complaints about collection agencies.
Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill Feedback (Complaint) System
State and Local Consumer Protection Agencies
State and local consumer protection agencies as well as state Attorney General offices accept consumer complaints.