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South Dakota

The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.

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Ellen

Thank you so much for establishing this website. For so long I believed that I was alone in this and was ashamed of myself for getting myself in this pickle. Today I am both relieved and astonished at what I have read.

In 1990 my parents were in a car accident and my Father was killed. My Mother was in a coma for 3 weeks and has suffered permanent disability from the crash to this day. As you can see, she was in no position to help me pay for college. I thought that if I got an "Education" I could help my Mom out with her expenses. I sarted college in 1995 after having cared for my Mom for 5 years and continued to work part-time, care for her, and take out the max amount of loan they offered me each quarter (except summer) to help my Mom and I live and to pay for books and car payments to get me to school 55 miles away each day. I was told by a loan representitive at the meeting that my payments would be about $50.00 a month which I thought "who can't afford 50 dollars a month?" My tuition at the college was about $650.00 a quarter, the loan they gave me paid for that plus I got between $2,000-$3,000 left over each quarter. When I finally finished scool my loans were at about $27,000 dollars.

At this point I was 29 year old. And had been home with my mom since I was 19.  I had never had my own apartment or even been on my own period. My grandparents had moved from another state to be near my Mom and after graduation I decided to move out of state near some relatives for a year to just get out on my own for the first time. I knew that my Grandparents could help my Mom out while I went. My loan was due for repayment (I thought) in 6 months from graduation. It had been only a month after graduation that I moved and thought I had 5 months to look for a job.

At this point I had applied to many places, but having moved to a small town in a small state, there wasn't much out there. Not only that but the people around here, I later learned, would not hire people from California before they choose someone from their state. I eventually got a job wairessing because it was the only thing I could find. About 2 weeks after I moved here I started dating my boyfriend, who was a friend of my cousin's, I had spent time with him when I came to visit them and since I had moved here we decided to become a couple.

When I moved my Mother was supposed to come and visit me, bringing some more of my things at the end of the summer. When she came she brought some mail for me. There were a few letters from the DOE. I opened them and found out that I was 2 months behind on repayment. I contacted them and found out that the graduation date they had was wrong (My own fault, I had to retake a class and forgot to call them to have it changed). I explained this and was told that it didn't matter I had to start repayment. At this point I had been working for only 2 months and I found out that I was pregnant. I still had not yet made a payment on my loan because I was short on money from just having started working, getting a rental house, etc.. I was still trying to convince them that I needed more time to start repayment (which by the way was $148.00 a month instead of $50.00 a month like I was talked into when I took out the loans.) About a month and a half into my pregnancy they discoved a very!
  large mass in my uterus. I had some tests done (fearing I had cancer and would have to choose between myself and my child), they discoved that I had a benign fibroid tumor in my uterus. The tumor was 13 inches in diameter and would ultimately affect my pregnancy. Which within 2 more weeks of waitressing it did. By the time I was 3 months pregnant I began to have cramping and bleeding. The doctor advised me to quit working immediately or I would lose this child. So I did. I contacted the DOE and told them what was going on. The woman I spoke with told me that the only thing she had was permanent disability and I did not qualify for that. She said she could do nothing at this time and I should contact her after the baby was born and I was back to work. I agreed and thought it was taken care of until I was back to work. (Stupid I know).

Not long after I recieved a notice that my loan was in default. And my nightmare begins. I had no intentions of making my boyfriend pay for a loan I recieved before I met him along with all of the other bills he was paying. I choose to ignore my plight and focus on my health and the helth of my child. My first son was born in 2001 after a scary pregnancy. I started recieving harrassing phone calls from the CA's not long after but when they learned that I was out of work they usually left me alone and gave my account to another agency. Their repayment offers were always more then I could ever afford so after I ignored the calls they would go away for a while. My boyfriend, who was now my fiancee, and I made the choice that we would rather not use daycare (both of us were raised by stay-at-home moms) and we agreed that I would stay home with him until he went to school. I found out that because of my tumor I would soon have to have a hysterectomy because it was causing me problems. We decided to have another child just in case we couldn't. My second son was born, through another difficult pregnancy in 2003. This second son extended the time frame for me going back to work.

My original loan was for $27,000 and it was now at $33,000. They wanted me to pay at least $300.00 a month plus to do that I would have to pay for daycare for two children. I have no family here to help except his Mom, but she works full time and cannot babysit for me. I understand that some people have no choice but to use daycare but I wanted to be the one with him everyday and I was willing to sacrifice anything to be able to do that. My fiancee and I made the decision that we should not get married until I go to work and start repaying the loan in case they decided to go after him for the money. I did not want him to pay for my mistake, he was paying enough for me already.

Now comes the bad part...The CA kept calling and now informed me that my $27,000 loan was now up to $40,000. They offered me 2 options. To either pay them $400.00 a month or to pay them a lump sum of $32,000 dollars. I told them I could do neither. I could not afford daycare along with that kind of payment. This is when the harrassment started. About 6 months later I recieved a call from Pioneer Credit, they told me that they would offer me a payment of $250.00 a month. I thought it over and talked with my fiancee and thought maybe if I got a graveyard job a couple nights a week I could at least get in the rehab program and get out of default. I called them back and told them I may be able to swing that payment but that I had to look to see if I could even get a job and that as soon as I did I would call them and work it out. The woman on the phone told me "No, you have to set up a payment plan right now, you cannot have a week"! She said that I had to set it up and they would wait a month to take the payment out of my bank. I told her that I was not going to set it up until I had a job because I had no money to put in there without the job.

She yelled at me that either I set it up now or she would put it down as a refusal to pay and I could be sued!!! A REFUSAL TO PAY!!!This was the first time in 4 years that I was agreeing to pay..what was she talking about?? I became so angry at this that I shut off and stopped the conversation. About 2 weeks later I recieved another call from Pioneer Credit. I explained to the nice girl on the phone what had happened and told her that I will not give them my bank information until I had a job. I also told her that I wanted in writing how much I owed, how much I was being asked to pay, who their company was, what part of my loan the rehab payments would cover, the terms of the rehab program, etc...She told me that she was not allowed, by the DOE, to send out anything in writing. I asked her why. She told me she would get her supervisor. At this point I spoke with the most rude woman I have ever encountered. She started yelling at me and said that they DO NOT have to give me anything in writing. I told her that I would not release any information to her if I did not know who her company was or if I did not have an agreed upon terms of repayment in writing. I told her "I don't know who you are, as far as I know you got my loan information out of my trash can and I could be sending money to a scam artist." She said that I could call the DOE and varify her company. I asked why the DOE could varify her company but she could not. This made her mad. She was calling me names and telling me that she had power to do things to me. I said that I would not give her anything until I got something in writing and she said, "Fine, I will put this as a refusal to pay". I was so angry at that point I said, "GO FOR IT". It makes me so angry because with this $250.00 payment I actually thought that not only could I breath for a while without being scared of lawsuits all the time, but I thought this was the chance that I could finally marry the Father of my children after 5 years together. I was so sad after being so happy for a little while.

About 2 weeks later my cousin called me and said that he just had gotten a call from somone who said that I wrote him down as a referance for a job I had applied for. I said, "A job? I haven't applied for a job in over 3 years." He said that he couldn't remember the name of the company but that the man said he needed to ask him some questions for my referance. My cousin said that they asked him if I owned my own home, how many kids I had, if I was married, etc...My cousin forked over all the info and told me that they even asked him if I would be a good worker and show up for work on time. I told him I had no idea who it was and I got very scared. It scared me so bad I was shaking, I thought someone was stalking me or something. While I was on the phone with him someone beeped through on call waiting. I answered and he asked for me and preceded to tell me that he was collecting on my student loan. I yelled, "Did yoiu just call my cousin?" He said that he might have, he wasn't sure. I said "Did you tell him you were calling for a job referance?" He said, "No, I wouldn't say that, I can call third paties to get contact information and that is it." I asked him if he was calling my cousin a liar and why was he calling my family to embarrass me and why did he need my contact information, I just spoke with them about 2 weeks ago. He told me that he had never spoken with me, he was with EDFUND and that he was my final stop before they took drastic measures to collect on this loan. I explained to him that I did not refuse to pay this loan, I tried to work something out and they were rude and would not give me time to look for a job. He said he would work with me. I was happy again....then comes the scary part..he told me that I could pay $125.00 a month to get in the rehab program. I was confused....why such a low payment? He said that I had to pay at least 1% of the balance. I asked him what him balance was. He told me $12,000. I told him that that was wrong and that I owed a balance of $27,000 dollars and I was afraid that he had part of my loan in him records and Pioneer Credit had the entire loan in theirs and I would end up paying part of the loan twice. He was very nice and told me that I could call an 800 number to find out how much my loans were (As my promissory notes were lost in the move) I had no idea what my totals were but I had a letter from the DOE from before it went to collections that showed all my disbursments and how much they were. The total was $27,000. I said that this was a mistake because I did not borrow $39,000 dollars. He told me to check it out and call him back. I got really scared at this point. I thought that I was going to be charged twice for a loan and I knew that getting a job at this point would do me no good. I was now in debt to two companies and had no proof of what I borrowed. I was already going to have my wages garnished and am embarrassed to go look for a job just to have them find out that I have a garnishment right away, maybe two garnishments. I also thought about that guy lying to me about what he said to my cousin and that made me not want to talk to him because what will keep him from lying to me? I have chosen to ignore them because there is nothing I can do until my boys go to school anyway since they have put me in this picle. If I could get a reasonable repayment, like the $250.00 it would be fine for us all, but I am scared to send money to pioneer credit because they won't put anything in writing and I am afraid to send money to EDFUND because it is a mistake and I don't want to pay twice.

At this point I am not answering my phone if I don't know who it is on the caller ID. These two CA's call my house an average of 5 times a day.  Pioneer Credit even started calling my fiancees cell phone. He asked them how they got the number and they said it was a nation wide search. He told him that this was his phone and they were not to call it and hung up on them, but they still call it asking for me....I feel like I am being stalked and watched and I am starting to get paranoid. Anytime someone comes to my house I feel like I have to hide. The phone is ringing off the hook at all hours of the night..I am stressed out and my children don't get the fun me as much as they should. I don't know what to do. There have been times when I've thought that I should just kill myself so my family can have some peace, but I would never leave my boys like that. I have terrible credit, I can never marry the Father of my Children, I have 2 people hounding me for the same loan and I am scared of being sued for even more money. I feel lost and my family is suffering because of this. I know I owe the loan and I want to pay it back, but I will never be able to do it by the time I can. I would just like some peace for one day. I don't want to be scared all the time anymore. What can we do to get our loans back to the principal balance?? If we agree to pay it they should give us another chance to do it, but they would lose a lot of money being that nice to us deadbeats. I have no other debt besides this loan. I payed off my car (never late). I pay all my bills on time. I am responsible. Thanks you for what you are trying to do. It gives me hope that one day I will have a normal, debt free life and a possibly even a beautiful wedding.





 


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