With student loan debt exceeding $1 trillion, a record number of graduates facing a tough job market are struggling to afford their monthly payments. For the debt settlement industry, these consumers are an irresistible target and represent of gold mine of potential new customers. Federal and state regulators have spotted new instances of abuse as these companies are shifting away from their traditional targets- credit cards and mortgage debt- and focusing in on student loans.
Illinois is expected to become the first state to bring legal action against debt settlement companies in connection with their student loan practices, contending in two separate lawsuits that Broadsword Student Advantage and First American Tax Defense tricked vulnerable borrowers into paying for help that never arrived.
In the lawsuit, the Illinois attorney general contends that these two companies lured unsuspecting borrowers into paying hundreds of dollars upfront, misled customers about those fees and in some instances pretended to be affiliated with federal relief programs. Even more egregious, the companies sometimes charged customers for debt relief assistance they could have received free from the Education Department.
The abundance of these student loan debt relief companies reflects a growing crisis- students taking on more debt than they can ever afford to repay. Of the $1.2 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt in the United States, an estimated seven million Americans have already defaulted on a total of $100 billion, with tens of thousands more borrowers defaulting each month, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.