The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued an advisory warning to consumers about student loan debt relief companies. While the CFPB warns all student borrowers to stay away from companies with aggressive marketing tactics that promise savings of thousands of dollars on their loans, it is also taking steps toward stopping these companies from engaging in illegal practices.
In a recent lawsuit against Student Loan Processing, the CFPB and Florida’s Attorney General shut down student loan debt relief company College Education Services for its illegal practices. These scams are all too common. The CFPB has provided some useful tips to help student borrowers recognize the red flags associated with student loan debt relief scams.
1.) Upfront fees. No upfront fees should ever be charged by a student loan debt relief company. In addition, you should not be required to sign a contract with the company. The CFPB notes that free assistance is available through your student loan servicer and advises that oftentimes taking upfront payment before debt relief services have been provided is illegal.
2.) Promises. Student loan debt relief companies will often promise borrowers loan forgiveness or even complete cancellation. The false promise of negotiating with your lender under federal student loan programs is a flat out lie.
3.) Signing documents. Student loan debt relief companies should not require that you sign a “third party authorization” or a “power of attorney.”
4.) Requests for your Federal Student Aid PIN: Borrowers should be extremely cautious of any student loan debt relief company that asks for this information. The CFPB states that, “honest companies will work with you to come up with a plan and will never use your PIN to access your student loan information.”
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 http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.