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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sallie Mae The Billion Dollar Scammer! No Online Principal Only Payment Option!


Tonight I'm LIVID!!!  I really shouldn't be but I'm really disgusted that Sallie Mae doesn't have a principal only payment option on its website.  Before I blow up, let me give you some context.  Since I'm finally wrapping my head around my student loan debt, I want to be smart about everything I do with regard to them so I can pay them off and do things like, oh, let's see - afford to have another baby, help the economy out by buying more than 1 pair of brown and 1 pair of black shoes each winter and you know, generally, HAVE A LIFE.  So I was trying to figure out how to make principal only payments to pay down the loan quicker.  

WARNING - I AM NOW ABOUT TO BLOW UP!

It is RIDICULOUS that multi-billion dollar company requires "customers" (i.e., its bitches) to MAIL IN a "principal only" payment with a letter.  DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THAT FUCKING RIDICULOUS!!  Jesus, help me - they got me cussing now!!  Ugh.  Let me breathe.

This is just continued confirmation that Sallie Mae is trying to keep customers in debt.  Seriously, in this day and technological age who requires customer to send in payments via snail mail!  Hell, even my mortgage company has an option to make a principal only payment online.  Then, I was reading other blogs where Sallie Mae CONSISTENTLY misapplies the principal only payments.  Also, there have been reports of Sallie Mae taking 3-4 weeks to process such a payment (essentially eradicating any ground you gained by making a principal only payment due to all the interest that accrued)!  WTF!!!  Sallie Mae has over 10 millions customers so how smart is it for them to actually instruct that many people to mail in a damn principal only payment? 

So let me get this straight, first, you require customers/bitches to use the most antiquated form of communication known to man then you don't even apply the payment right?????  Oh, this is the definition of SCAM!!!! 

To make things worse, Sallie Mae states that additional payments made online will go to accrued interest first.  HELLO people - your loan accrues interest every damn day!!!  So your principal only payment of $50 (for example) would not all go to principal if you pay online.  Sallie Mae takes a portion of it to pay the accrued interest first, but if the entire principal only payment went to, oh, say, principal then the accrued interest would be less!!

SALLIE MAE IS A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATE SCAM ARTIST!!

Now, despite my present emotional state on this issue I am well aware that all the interest we bitches pay is how Sallie Mae makes its money.  So its no coincidence that Sallie Mae doesn't have a principal only payment option on their website - because they DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY THE LOAN OFF EARLY.  Sallie Mae isn't incompetent.  You don't become a multi-billion dollar company on incompetence.  Sallie Mae DELIBERATELY does not have a principal only payment option on it website and probably incorrectly processes payments and/or takes 3-4 weeks to process a principal only payment ON PURPOSE.  They want every damn cent out of you that they can get.  They don't want to help you manage your debt because managing debt ultimately means paying it off.  Anyone or company in this case, that expects you to make payments until you are well into your mid-sixties really has NO INTENTION ON HELPING YOU PAY YOUR LOAN OFF EARLY.  This is abundantly clear by Sallie Mae capitalizing interest on loans that are deferred or in forbearance, how they apply your payments (accrued interest and late fees first), advancing payment dates, and finally MAKING YOU PAY PRINCIPAL ONLY PAYMENTS VIA THE MAIL!!


I decided to conduct my own taste test.  Tomorrow my bank will mail a principal only payment in the amount of $75.00 to Sallie Mae.  The memo section of the check will clearly state "FOR PRINCIPAL ONLY" and my account number.  I'll see 1) how long it takes them to apply the payment and 2) if the payment is applied correctly.  I'll post a follow up entry on the results.

They provide all kinds of options on the timing of your payment, but not one option to make a principal only payment.  Talk about the simplest tool to provide to consumers.  Where is Congress and the American Bar Association (ABA) when you need them!!!!  Why is NO ONE talking about these simple, efficient, practical tools that would ACTUALLY WORK?  Why do I have to get to the point of bankruptcy for help???  Why don't you help me PAY the loans off - whether faster or at all by placing limits on accrued or capitalized interest?  HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!

Clearly my cries are falling on deaf ears.  Well, since Sallie Mae wants us to mail shit in to them, let's do just that.  Imagine if millions of Sallie Mae bitches actually wrote to the CEO Albert L. Lord and any other member of senior management at Sallie Mae and demanded that they include a principal only payment option on the website (that actually applied your entire payment to the loan's principal balance).  Conveniently, Sallie Mae has an Office of Customer Advocate (how effective they are at actually advocating for the customer remains to be seen, because with the plethora of complaints online I fail to see their results) that you can email as well.  I was so livid I sent the following email to the Office of Customer Advocate tonight.  I hope you will do the same.  
I want to know why Sallie Mae doesn't have a "principal only" payment option to allow customers to make principal only payments electronically.  I find it truly antiquated that a multi-billion dollar company requires consumers to MAIL IN a principal only payment along with a letter.  THIS PRACTICE IS TRULY RIDICULOUS.  Additionally, there are MANY reports of customers doing as Sallie Mae instructed and their payments are REPEATEDLY misapplied.

It is clear that Sallie Mae is abusing its consumers and is deliberately trying to keep people in debt.  I request that Sallie Mae include a Principal Only electronic payment option on its website.   I am aware that this is not the first nor the last request consumers have made regarding this functionality.  The question is WHEN will Sallie Mae listen to its consumers and provide this functionality.  Thank you.
I realize its not the most legally sound letter, but hey, I was caught up in the heat of the moment.  I'm not going to stop here either.  I am going to write a letter to each member of Sallie Mae's management team and I hope you do the same as well.  I'm working a draft letter now and will post it for you all to use if you want.  I am also soliciting content for the letter should you care to contribute.  I'm going to channel this anger towards change (either that or a drinking habit).



26 comments:

  1. At this point Sallie Mae is back in the government fold just like Fannie & Freddie. And as our leader Pres. Obama has made known, the government is here to make your life better.

    Does that make you feel better? Office of Consumer Advocate - you are funny.

    Just wait until you have paid off your loans, then they come after you a decade later and claim that you paid $0. It happens.

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  2. Instead of sending in letters, why don't we just send in actual boxes of crap?

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  3. About 4 weeks ago, I went to a party and met a local branch VP for Sallie Mae. He told us that they were looking to buy up another $80 in student loans. He mentioned that Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) would be selling off their student loans to other companies.

    It is such a sick world, and unfortunately the banks OWN Congress. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/29/dick-durbin-banks-frankly_n_193010.html

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  4. What happens if I mail in a 'principal' only payment and state that it is to be applied to principal only for a particular loan? I have about 7 private student loans through Sallie Mae, but I want to obviously pay the ones off w/the higher interest rate first.

    I'm going to send my payment and letter on my law firm's letterhead ;-)

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  5. Thank you for your blog, I'm frustrated by Sallie Mae as well. I had raised my monthly payment from $138 to $150 for about 2 years. When I wanted to go back to my regular monthly payment of 138 I was told that the monthly payment changed to 138.17. I asked why there was a difference and they said it's because I shortened the term on my loan by making higher payments so my monthly payment changed. That's weird to me because if I make extra payments on my car loan my monthly payment stays the same. I thought that's how my student loan worked as well, I didn't expect my regular monthly payment to change. It's like I'm being penalized for making extra payments.

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  6. little do they tell you also that you could qualify for Income based repayment which for me became $0.00 per month. After being on IBR for 25 years they pay off your loan if you have enough kids to make the IBR $0 and they also don't tell you that if you do automatic debit you get up to 0.25% interest rate.
    There fucking bastards and my 18 K loan is now $43K from just damn interest.

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  7. I am so fed up with these fuckers at Sallie Mae. I sent in a *principal only* extra payment and they applied it to interest first!!!!

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    1. The same thing happened to me. I couldn't find a way to do it online, so I sent an e-mail asking for the process to make PRINCIPAL ONLY payments. They told me to write PRINCIPAL ONLY on the check and to send a letter. I did just that. Today I noticed they applied the payment to both principal and interest. I called and after being handed off to reps a few times and put on hold for twenty minutes, "Vincent, employee# C35805" (isn't allowed to give a full name) told me that the loan disclosure I signed twenty years ago states that Sallie Mae is allowed to apply loan payments in whatever manner they choose and they have the right to apply any extra payments, even if indicated for PRINCIPAL ONLY, to the loan as they see fit. They said my disclosure states that if there is interest due on my loan, even if the payments are current, then they can take out money for the interest. The scenario is I have electronic withdraw of my payment every month. I can finally afford to pay extra and sent $1000. I was told that since I accumulate interest every day, then PRINCIPAL ONLY payments are not an option for me because I owe Sallie Mae interest every day so no payments will be applied to principal only because they have the right to get paid for interest. What the eff??? This is a form a predatory lending. Sure, they didn't trick me into borrowing, but they are preventing me from being able to pay off the loan. I asked for a copy of the disclosure and was told they are not allowed to send these via e-mail and that I will receive it by mail within 7-14 days. He actually said the document has to be proof read before it is sent. I asked why they would need to proof read an original document with my signature that is dated twenty years ago. Obviously it can't be proof read for correctness or to make changes. What's done is done. He didn't really have an answer. I assured him I wanted one with my original signature that said that my loan does not allow PRINCIPAL ONLY payments as he stated. He assured me that's exactly what the disclosure states. He told me just to send a larger monthly payment. Mother Effer!!! That's is not the right response and is completely inappropriate.

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  8. Sallie Mae is staffed with stupid fucking people that cannot understand anything, it like trying to talk to a fucking robot (1st gen)I print my principle payment letter in size 18 type and repeat the instructions twice, they still manage to fuck it up which results in more phone calls and more time wasted and my blood pressure going through the roof.

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  9. Finance ProfessionalAugust 25, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Dont think my first post took...

    Wow...I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one. I am a banker, and now, finally, I make a very good living thanks to my education. I am a portfolio manager, vice president and officer of a very large well known institution. Needless to say...I know damn good and well how a loan works...and more importantly...how to amortize a loan. I am 100% convinced Sallie Mae does not have the slightest idea what amortization means. My debt with them is now just under $70k (half unsbsidized and half subsidized). I pay them $535 per month. The subsidized loans have a payment of $135 per month which is all interest. If I pay $150...it still goes to interest. If I pay $300...you guessed it...it still goes to interest. They cannot explain to me why. They say it is going to "back interest." This is simply impossible on a simple interest loan which accrues daily. I had to tell one person to get a calculator and do the math with me. She did and still didnt get it. I now only pay the exact interest due on that loan.

    The unsubsidized loan (what they call private) is a whole other story. I was on the rate reduction program, which dropped my rate from 13% to 5%. This allows for principal and interest payments. Problem is...again...they have no clue what amortization means. After one year in this program where I needed to renew, I was completely shocked to find that all of the payments I had made in the past year were all applied to interest. This is a very long story (yes...even longer...), so to cut it short, I will say I did the math, told them what my balance SHOULD be, and made them fix the error. This took me a total of 30 days, 15 phone calls, 9 different people (only two of the 9 understood what I was saying) and at least 20-23 hours on the phone...while at work. Since the issue was resolved...I am going to allow this next year for the loan to perform before filing a complaint with the FTC for predatory lending including Regulation Z violations.

    For those who may not understand how interest only loans work, please allow me to offer this example.
    Balance - $30,000
    Rate - 6%
    Payment = 30,000 X .006 = $1,800 per year. Most loans are based on a 360 day year and a 30 day month, so, 1,800/12 = $150 per month. If you make this payment every month, it is mathmatically impossible to EVER have back interest. This is what I tried to explain to the Sallie Mae people. Only two ever understood.

    Document EVERY payment. Make principal only payments on the same day as your montly interest payment (so there is $0 in accrued interest). Only make these payments over the phone and write down the confirmation # (I keep a SM journal). Get the person's name and extension. Print out the transactoin from your bank accout online. Call back in one week to verify it was applied correctly. This is a lot of work, but the ONLY way I have found to make sure it gets applied correctly. Lastly...NEVER trust the online system. The #'s are always wrong. NEVER use it to make a payment...as it will likely tell you a different payment than is actually due.

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    1. You never had an issue using the phone method? Did they charge you for making a payment over the phone? If so, did they you twice for making two payments?

      Thanks! I might have to do this. The only thing I'm not sure about is penalties... I just now found out that there may be penalties for paying early. I'm not sure if this is true with my loans.

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  10. I don't get it. Is the interest rate on accumulated interest different than interest rate on principal? What difference does it make?

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  11. Like many Americans, I am faced with a SALLIE MAE debt that I cannot pay.

    Even with all the OPTIONS Sallie mae offers (and they're not that good, unless you cheat at it, but i wouldn't suggest trying that...)...

    for many, it STILL becomes a "IGNORE...and hope like GOD they will go away!" Even though they're GOVERNMENT...they won't (depsite being PRIVATE, a GSPE)

    BUT, like many americans who WORK FOR A LIVING, I pay SOCIAL SECURITY with the promise that I'd get my stipend out when I reach sixty-something....

    If it's LEGAL for the GOVERNMENT to take from the SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND, and replace what they take with BONDS, that I as a TAXPAYER must be on the hook for...paying MORE of my "fair share" to help government honor those promises....

    then I should be allowed to redirect my SOCIAL SECURITY PAY-IN CLAIMS to offset or eliminate the SALLIE MAE DEBT, NOW!

    If Social security tells me through annual letters how much I have paid in since the start of my working life...then if they're correct, then I should have enough pay-in claims to handle the offset....

    I mean, it's not that much of a stretch of the imagination to figure out that BOTH ENTITIES, after expenses, take all their gains they get, and give it over to GOVERNMENT coffer, unless programmed otherwise to recirculate it...neverthless...

    So...what forms do I fill out, to get this done....who do I need to contact to get this handled? What do I have to do?

    Or, should i just get comfortable on the whipping post, like they tied KUNTAR KINTE...and shut my eyes real tight when the whip me...to make me say my name is "TOBY" just so the slave master can feel righteous when they finally break me to do it?

    Well? what do I do?

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  12. I am still in the "grace period" before my Salliemae loans become due as I just graduated. I have sent two payments in , each 1000. dollars with a typed letter specifically stating I wanted it applied to my unsubsidized loans only because they are accruing interest even now. Both times they have applied my payment to both subsidized and unsub portions of my debt. How convenient for them since the unsub loans have a much higher interest rate. When I call and complain they tell me they will fix it, but they never seem to. Idiots! I was hoping to get all my unsub loans paid before my grace period is up. What a pain in the hoo ha!

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  13. I had a problem of a similar vein. One major issue is the complete lack of experience the majority of the customer service reps have in finance. I lack a finance background, but I do understand one concept in the world of student loans: pay off higher interest loans first.

    I have two groups of loans. Group A contains three loans; Group B contains two loans. One of the loans in Group A has an interest rate of 8.25 percent. All the other interest rates are lower.

    My total minimum payment for both groups is X each month. I pay X plus extra each month. Obviously, I want the extra to go towards paying the loan with the highest interest rate. When my loans first went into repayment, this is how I instructed Sallie Mae's agent. Nonetheless, Sallie Mae began dispersing my extra payment evenly among all loans.

    I have invariably attempted, for the past year, to get a Sallie Mae representative to understand what I wanted accomplished. None of them seemed to understand why I would want to apply the extra payment against the high interest loan. I would get passed from one rep to the next with the promise that the next would accomplish my goal. This became increasingly frustrating. Finally, in a state of desperation, I was able to get Sallie Mae to apply the extra--not to my high interest loan--but rather the loan billing Group A, where the high interest loan was contained. Thus, applying the extra among a smaller subset of loans (which was better than nothing).

    This was about 6 months ago. I recently decided to give it another shot, and have finally--a year later--found someone that understood what I needed done. Bringing my point full circle: everyone I spoke to was superficially helpful, but it took me a full year and a dozen conversations to find someone who understood, (1) why someone would want to pay down high interest first; and (2) how to apply my extra payment accordingly. It seems disingenuous on a lenders part to take an extra payment and apply it in a fashion that best suits their bottom line. It's even further disconcerting to know that the lender is incapable, on a systematic level, of understanding basic finance. It's a complete administrative nightmare.

    As to your issue, I have a genuine doubt that whoever is responsible for collecting and applying your payment specifically allocated for principal understands the difference between interest and principal in the first place.

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  14. Another ridiculous thing about their online payments. You can not increase the Auto Payment amount, you can only apply to decrease it! What a joke, they want you to never pay these loans off.

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  15. Help! I don't know what to do...

    After I finished school, I didn't have much of an income. So, I sent letters out to senators, congressman, hell even the white house. I heard back, and I got a number for Sallie Mae who had people working that you could actually talk to. I went through a financial statement, and they dropped interest rates on 1/3 of my loans down to 2% for a year (they were originally upwards of 13%!!!)

    Needless to say, I got a better job, and earned a lot more money over the year. And I never told them. Fuck them. But now it's been a year, and they're still at 2%, and it's a ticking time bomb every month wondering when they'll jack them back up again. I don't know if it was swept under the rug and never noticed cause they have so many borrowers or what.

    In about 7 months or so, 2/3 of my loans will go into standard payment (I've only been paying interest on these two loans) and now what do I do? There's 2 of them. And they are at variable interest rates. But in 7 months I will have 1/3 of my loan debt saved up.

    So...

    Do I pay off the fixed interest rate loans that are now down to 2% thinking they'll eventually go back up?

    Do I pay off the others that have a variable interest rate?

    or

    Do I continue to save my money, make the standard payment, until I have enough to pay them off?

    I don't know if it's safe to make such a large payment after reading everyone's comments about how they misapply the money. But I don't see how they could misapply an amount so high that's the whole loan towards interest. But I'm also scared if I pay a lot that they'll jackup my payments some how. Can they do that? I'm almost tempted to save everything I can and make one huge payment and be done. Then they can't say shit. But that's going to take another 4 years, and I'll be wasting so much money on interest by then, and then I get anxiety about making such a huge payment.

    If I could just over pay now... I suppose I can try doing the phone thing.

    What would you guys do?

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  16. I find it best to use their online chat feature to make payments. I print all conversations out and when I have money for a lawyer, I will have a case because I have documentation. I'm just waiting and hoping for laws to change. I will claim bankruptcy the moment I can. I've read stories about people that were able to claim undue hardship and have their loans bankrupted. I'm paying them $1154 a month, not to mention my fed loans that are $136. I'm so poor and I shouldn't be.

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  17. I paid over 6K and it only took like 2k off my total! WTF!!! WHAT A SCAM!!!! I am calling tomorrow and raising hell! I will pay the total tomorrow so I dont wase 4k every 3 years... this is a joke!@@!#

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  18. I just had a long and angry "conversation" with several of there employees. They now have the option to pay "principle only" with online payments. If you have a similarly angry "conversation" they will go back and manually change all of your back payments to principle only. Keep escalating until you get an account manager.

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  19. I had two people tell me it was ok to pay off the unsubsidized part of my loan. When I did so, they applied the money across all loans "in accordance with their policies". I called again and this rep insisted that I was misinformed. After much bickering, she put me on hold and contacted the processing center. It was straightened out later that afternoon. Their customer service is outsourced to India from what I understand. Whose idea was this with the unemployment rate being what it is in this country. I can understand why someone would not want to be working in the hot fields or on a construction site. But surely an overqualified person whouldn't mind being a customer service rep until something better came along. And this is a government agency??

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  20. I, like everyone else above, got screwed recently. I had been paying extra towards my higher interest rate loans when I can (saving until I had an extra 5K). I would mail this in with explicit instructions (even underlined and repeated several times) to direct the extra payment towards this one particular loan in my account. I was up-to-date on my minimum payments..So what did they do?? They dispersed it through out my other loans with more than half of my amount towards interest. I cried (literally). I am taking my hard earned money..actually saving it up..and this is what happens. THEY ARE CROOKS. I emailed them..waiting to hear back. I can only pray that they get whats coming to them..on earth or beyond. That's how bad I think they are.. I am a doctor, I worked hard through training, but I wont ever get out from this debt if they do this to me.

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  21. This thread has been going on for 4 years and I'm sure the SCAM that Sallie Mae has going on has been in the works for a lot longer. Once I noticed how my payment was being allocated I about cried. There is no way out! This is insane. We DO need a class action suit.

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  22. I am equally frustrated. I sent Sallie Mae an additional payment for $1,000 by check with a letter specifically instructing them to apply the full amount to principal only and to not advance my due date. Sure enough they applied $15.34 of the payment to interest and advanced my due date. This is after having made two additional payments online earlier this month (which of course went to both interest and principal). All told I have paid over $40 in interste when past interest payments have been about $32. It feels like I am going backwards. I spoke to two customer service reps (based in India I believe) and was eventually transferred to a supervisor in Wilkes Barre only to receive the same canned speech that student loans accrue interest on a daily basis and that essentially there is no way to make principal only payments. I explained that I never had a problem making additional principal only payments with my two other student loan lenders but that fell on deaf ears. They finally agreed to reverse the advanced due date but would not budge on the interest payment. They told me the only way a payment would be applied to principal only is to make the additional payment on day of my due date when the interest has been reset. I have actually tried that in the past but they just advanced my next payment date. I asked who I could talk to up the chain of command work out a way to ensure that additional payments are applied to principal and that my due date is not advanced but they refused to transfer my call any further and would not give me a name and address to email/mail. They claim the form email on the website will find its way to the right person. The supervisor did mention that I could request to increase my regular payments. Apparently this is something that can only be done over the phone. Has anyone else had any luck doing that? If so did it bring down your principal any faster or did they find a way to just apply the extra to interest?

    I would love to know how the person who posted on March 27,2013, got them to manually adjust their back payments to principal only. I have had the opposite happen. They reallocated some of the past payments applied to my account through Upromise that had been partially applied to principal so that it is now 100% applied to interest. I'd also like to point out that the principal only option is no longer on the website.

    This feels very much like predatory lending indeed. What options do we have to fight this?

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