My new student loan servicer is boggling my mind
February 4, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

My loans were recently transferred from Direct Loans (the government) to a private servicer (VSAC). I am almost sure that someone somewhere made an error, because my new bills are blowing my mind. I was silly enough to throw away my old payment receipts. Who do I call to get my old records of payments and to make sure the new people aren't messing up my account?

I didn't keep the paperwork for the loans before they were transferred (dumb, dumb). I also am not highly competent with how interest accrues etc. etc. but do know that I pay my bills on time and that my account was current.

Some unpleasant surprises since my loans were transferred:

- First payment billed as past due. Was current on Direct Loans, never received any communication from VSAC until the past due thing.
- I suddenly have $860 in outstanding interest according to VSAC. I have been making regular payments on my loans for a few years. I am on the income contingent plan but it covers the interest. Is there any possible explanation for this?
- My payment seems to mysteriously have bumped up about $120 per month. I was paying 130 per month before and the first invoice was $250 (mysteriously). I paid it because I figured that they'd messed up with the transfer and not billing me on time and I figured it would just get me current or ahead of schedule. Then the next invoice was for $260. No word or explanation about why.

- I know that the most direct answer is going to be to ask VSAC. I have had considerable difficulty speaking with a non-automated human being despite several calls/emails and would like to plan what I say in advance since human contact seems so terribly rare with this company.

Sorry to sort of send this out into the ether, I am getting desperate and highly frustrated with not being able to understand what is going on and having no idea of what consistent payment will be expected.
posted by mermily to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They probably just raised it because they simply want more cash flow, and they aren't bound by whatever your old arrangements were. These companies are awful. Data point: a company who acquired my brother's student loans initially refused to continue grad school deferment because Oxford University wasn't on their list of accredited institutions. You are going to have to raise hell and make demands. Just flatly ignore anyone who claims it is impossible to lower your payment and keep making yourself a problem.
posted by thelonius at 5:33 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

I know that the most direct answer is going to be to ask VSAC. I have had considerable difficulty speaking with a non-automated human being despite several calls/emails and would like to plan what I say in advance since human contact seems so terribly rare with this company.

I think you're going to have to try that again. Push zero or whatever, and stay on hold until you get a live body.

Is VSAC = Vermont Student Assistance Corp? If so, it looks like their live bodies are at a different set of phone numbers from the "automated assistance". Try 800-642-3177 or 802-655-9602 between 8:00 am-4:30 pm, Monday–Friday.
posted by beagle at 5:35 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can still login to Direct Loans and get your records. My account was transferred but not to the same place as yours. Definitely work hard to talk to the new place. My account shifted without anything changing, including my auto payment information.
posted by Swisstine at 5:36 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

My loans have been bought and sold a few times. Every time it happens the new 'lender' automatically assumes I was making payments below what I could afford to pay and bumps my payment. Each time that happens I have to call and (yeah) talk to someone about re-adjusting the payment amount. It's always been difficult to get this set up. I imagine they figure some people will just pay the higher amount rather than deal with getting ahold of them and going through the process of arranging payments yet again. So, as long as you're persistent and on-message (fight for the status quo! just take me back to the payments I was making before, etc.) you should be able to work something out with your new 'lender'.

Good luck!
posted by carsonb at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Good news: I've known two people who had loans through VSAC, and they both said that VSAC was really easy to deal with. I think a phone call should help get things straightened out.
posted by zug at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Three thoughts to getting this information the slightly more indirect route:

first, you should get a tax form right around this time of year indicating how much interest you've paid on your student loans over the past year. You can probably backwards calculate your payment from that (this is sub-optimal, but I'm trying to think of all options here).

secondly, use the National Student Loan Data System and look up any federally funded (non-private) student loans you have. I'm not 100% positive it contains payment history data, but since it does contain just about everything else, you should take a look at it regardless.

thirdly (and more fruitfully), your credit report will contain your student loan payment history. You can, as always, request free credit reports through (other sites may be malicious/require payment).

Frankly, you're probably going to have to contact VSAC directly to get the payment info lowered. But if you want to have solid data on what you were paying before, use one of the sources above and get that info before you get on the phone with them.
posted by librarylis at 8:26 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

It may not seem like it because of the troubles you are going through right now, but you are in luck! VSAC is a gem. I seriously feel blessed that my loans were through them instead of one of the many horrible companies that are out there. Just call them. A nice lady in Vermont will answer the phone and work with you to correct everything, I promise!
posted by january at 11:30 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for the advice everyone!
posted by mermily at 7:10 AM on February 5, 2013

My student loans are all through VSAC and I've always had only good things to say about them. It probably helps that I am from VT and could take a trip to their offices if necessary, but they are pretty good about doing what you want them to do. Just give them a call and talk to a real person and everything should work itself out. I didn't even know that VSAC was private, I just thought it was what all students in Vermont used, in your case I assumed that there would be a NCSAC or some other equivalent.
posted by koolkat at 7:23 AM on February 5, 2013

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