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Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group...works?


brodieaa
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2 days ago, after reading about the Ombudsman Group on this forum, I decided to try for myself. I did the online e-mail form to the group and crossed my fingers. The VERY NEXT DAY, I received a phone call/voicemail from someone at the Ombudsman Group who gave me a number to call him back and suggested that he "thinks we will be able to fix some of [my] your problems." He told me I might need to fax in a current copy of my credit report and some other documents, but that we should talk first to figure out the best way to proceed to get everything resolved. Wow! I was delightfully surprised. Issues I pointed out in my email were duplicated Student Loan accounts on my credit report, incorrect payment history, etc...all the stuff we complain about on here everyday. I will keep you guys updated on the progress and plan to call today to see what the Ombudsman Group has to say.

 

On a separate note, Sallie Mae responded to my CMRRR dispute sent to the Wilkes-Barre, PA address through my online Sallie Mae account. They sent me two documents: one said that they could not make any changes to my credit report because everything was reporting accurately; the other was a payment history that only showed each account being paid off (likely when they were sold off to the next organization/office). So, I'm wondering if I can use this latter letter in a dispute to the CRAs to get that crappy payment history fixed on my CR. Again, I'll keep the board posted.

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The Ombudsman's office is awesome!

 

They helped my husband and I get two old student loans of his discharged. They were from a scam trade school he attended back in the 80s, that was shut down by the FBI for financial aid fraud, among other things. The school actually took out loans in students' names without their knowledge or permission, including my husband. He had a federal loan taken out in his name, well over a year after he left the school.

 

The loans ballooned to more than double the original amounts, when he couldn't afford to pay them, due to interest and late fees. His credit got ruined over it, and he had his paychecks and income tax refunds garnished over it. It was a nightmare.

 

The Ombudsman got the loans discharged, got him a refund of the money garnished from his paychecks, and got the loans wiped all of his credit reports, or reporting as closed and paid off.

 

I highly recommend them.

Edited by RedHairedLady
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Sounds great! I spoke to someone from the Ombudsman Group (OG) finally and we talked through my issues and agreed to send him copies of my CRs and military discharge form (DD-214). We discussed my expectations and desired outcomes and he pointed out that they (the OG) had no enforcement authority over Sallie Mae or the other SL servicers. He said they were merely an unbiased mediator that had the advantage of placement and access. I am, at my highest level of optimism, confident that this will be the best chance I have at a remedy to my problems. I will accept whatever comes out of this, which I think will be fair at the least and thorough at best. If I can get a letter from the OG stating that Sallie Mae or Direct Loans is unable to produce my 'negative' payment history, I would use that to do a final dispute to the CRAs to have it removed. The saga continues!

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UPDATE

Got a call from my Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group (OG) contact. He told me that after speaking with Sallie Mae and presenting them with my military discharge form (DD-214), they agreed that I was eligible for deferment at the time of all of the negative payment history reporting on my Credit Reports. Therefore, they have agreed to remove ALL negative reporting on all my student loans showing on my Credit Reports! Uhhh, can you say ECSTATIC??!! In true Credit Boards fashion, I humbly asked the OG to obtain documentation from Sallie Mae of their agreement to do this and forward it to me for my records. The OG seemed puzzled, saying that his experience has been that they stick to their word. I told him that my experience is that everyone can have 'selective' amnesia and have previously deleted items pop up on the Credit Report later in life. He laughed and agreed to get the documentation. He said Sallie Mae updates at the end of the month and they said to look for the change over the next couple of weeks.

 

I'll update the board once the baddies or gone and/or when I have the documentation in hand! Sounds like the OG may be the new Student Loan holy grail!

Edited by brodieaa
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On Friday, I received an email from the Sallie Mae Office of the Customer Advocate; the attachment included (on Sallie Mae letterhead) was as follows:

 

January 31, 2014

 

 

Mr. XXXXXX

Via email: XXXXX@webmail.com

 

RE: Your Student Loan Account #xxxxxxxxxx

 

Dear Mr. XXXXX:

 

This letter is in response to your recent inquiry to the US Department of Education, Office of the Ombudsman, for consideration that the delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus while you were on active military duty be removed. I am here to help you in any way I can.

 

I am pleased to confirm any derogatory marks reported to the credit bureaus between May 31, 2000 and March 1, 2012 have been removed from your credit report.

 

Sallie Mae appreciates the sacrifices made by those who dedicate themselves to serving our country in the Armed Forces. We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused you.

 

You're welcome to call me directly and toll free at 866-432-7939, x89994, with any questions you may have.

 

Sincerely,

 

Heather L. Gariano

Office of the Customer Advocate

Sallie Mae

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After about a week, I called the Sallie Mae Customer Advocate above to inquire about the negatives still showing on my CRs. She was very nice and accommodating and explained that Sallie Mae had pushed the update, but it might take the CRAs 2-3 weeks to update on the reports. She said that if I found myself seeking approval for a mortgage or other loan and it looks like the negatives still on there were affecting rates or approval, that she could do a three way phone conference or provide a letter stating that the negatives are not valid and are in the process of being removed. To me, this was a step above and beyond what I would have expected. In my opinion, this should be everyone's go-to office for Student Loan (SL) discrepancies. Its too bad their office isn't the one that CR disputes go to normally; I'm sure there would be a lot fewer frustrated people.

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  • 1 month later...

just to add my experience to this thread.

I tried this group as well for an acct that had a backdated forbearance almost 7 years ago now. I did get a quick response to me presenting the HEA and FTC opinion letters stating that it shouldnt be marked late. However they disputed my dispute and said this 120 late will remain until sept 2007 on my reports. I didnt bother arguing with him. That was Friday.

 

Reason being - I knew that I had a CFPB dispute going at the same time. As of this morning, EQ deleted the account that they had just verified the week before. I can only assume that CFPB helped while this group did not. TU is still out there and pending a response.

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After about a week, I called the Sallie Mae Customer Advocate above to inquire about the negatives still showing on my CRs. She was very nice and accommodating and explained that Sallie Mae had pushed the update, but it might take the CRAs 2-3 weeks to update on the reports. She said that if I found myself seeking approval for a mortgage or other loan and it looks like the negatives still on there were affecting rates or approval, that she could do a three way phone conference or provide a letter stating that the negatives are not valid and are in the process of being removed. To me, this was a step above and beyond what I would have expected. In my opinion, this should be everyone's go-to office for Student Loan (SL) discrepancies. Its too bad their office isn't the one that CR disputes go to normally; I'm sure there would be a lot fewer frustrated people.

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/us/sallie-mae-to-be-accused-of-overcharging-military-personnel-on-loans.html?_r=0

 

Actually, this is why they were so nice and helpful to you..

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  • 4 weeks later...

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