If you have defaulted on a student loan, odds are you will be hearing from a collection agency. After all, student loan providers contract with various debt collecting agencies. However, these debt collectors must adhere to law when collecting these debts. This means that they cannot leave phone messages that illegally disclose details about your debts to others without your permission, they cannot keep calling people multiple times after having been told that the person who they called did not owe the debt or make illegal calls to third parties in attempts to find the debtor. They can call you, but not harass you.
What Are the Rules for Collecting a Delinquent Student Loan?
Student loans are governed by debt collection laws just like any other debts. You have rights if you are collected by a debt collector regarding a past due student loan. A debt collector must adhere to these rules:
- Debt collectors cannot call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- You cannot be contacted at work if you have told them your employer does not allow personal calls.
- Cannot contact a third-party for anything other than getting contact information for the debtor.
- Cannot harass or abuse the debtor or anyone else contacted about the debtor.
- Cannot lie about the amount owed.
- Cannot use deceptive methods to collect a debt, such as pretending to be law enforcement or claiming that the debtor will be arrested.
What Should I Do If I Am Behind on My Student Loan Payments?
If you are behind on your student loan payments and you are contacted by a debt collector, you do have options. Here are some of your choices:
- If you want to make sure the information that the collection agency has is correct, or if you believe the total is inaccurate, you should dispute the debt. The debt collector will have to send you written verification to validate your debt.
- If you can, settle your debt. If you have funds available, you might be able to negotiate an agreement with the debt collector to pay less than what you owe. While it can be difficult to reach a settlement, it can be worthwhile. You will usually have to pay it off in one lump sum, so you must have the funds available.
- If you have funds available, you can pay the amount owed to catch up the debt.
- Another option is loan consolidation. By doing this, you take out a new loan in the amount of your current loans to pay off the past due balance.
- If your loans are in default, you will need to contact your servicer to set up a repayment plan. If you make your payments on time for three months, you can enter an income-driven repayment plan that you are much more likely to afford.
Consult with an FDCPA Attorney
If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you should consult with a FDCPA attorney who can help you with your debts and help get the collectors to adhere to the laws. Complete our Free Case Evaluation Form today to get your details shared with an attorney in your area who can help you.