Here is an E-mail I sent to representatives of a company who claimed to make sure that my loans were forgiven, without fully understanding my financial picture. I called my loan servicing company and confirmed that businesses like these a predatory, even if they are legit and "respectable" companies, they are still predatory and the people they prey on are those most vulnerable! They do things "legally" and yet if I were to pull up the phone conversation I had with this Counselor, I swear she violated a few curtesy behaviors, one of them making sure she stated and clarified that she does not work for the federal government. She changed my Federal Student Loan user name and ID for me, and she even asked me for my bank routing number and checking account number. If they do that, it is already a sign of DON'T DO IT. How ever, you'll read in my testimony here that I was really vulnerable. The reason I was further more vulnerable is because I recently submitted a loan application for my graduate school program and I also submitted an IBR application to my current servicing company to renew my payment plan. I thought that because of my previous activities, that this phone call and conversation with a1DocPrep was timely. Here is the letter I sent to one of their higher-ups after I did my research on the company and their services:
"Thank you for the opportunity to explain myself and for allowing me to request to revoke the service agreement that I signed while I was on the phone with [name removed].
The reason for my cancellation is because A1 DocPrep representative [name] signed me up for a service that I do not need.
The phone message is recorded in my iPhone today October 19, 2016 8:38AM HT what sounds to be a man. I returned the call to 888-897-5488 because I was told that my eligibility for a student loan forgiveness pre-qualification would be revoked in 48 hours. I put a lot of effort towards being responsible and active in my finance and therefore I called the number left in my voicemail assuming that the phone call had something to do with my student loans.
Enrollment Counselor, [----] answered my phone call and immediately walked me through a process very quickly. I explained to her that I had several servicing companies that I deal with and she continued to misinform me by saying that all of my student loans will be forgiven after this process. She also continued to lead me to think that all I need to do is pay $300 for 3 months, call the servicing company to my loans and ask them to defer my loan payments for at least 3 months, and submit the receipt for payments to whatever I was signing up for to my tax preparer in order for me to receive it again in my returns. Afterwards, my loans will be forgiven. She further walked me through www.nslds.ed.gov, and without me signing onto my own account, she changed my password for me. Because of this, I was under the assumption that I was talking to the Federal Government. [----] did not clearly state that she was not working for the Federal Government Student Loan Department and played heavily into my vulnerability in the hope that I can get ALL of my student loans consolidated and forgiven. She did not ask me if I was already in a Federal Student Loan forgiveness program, and had she allowed me to share more about my finances, she would have discovered that I have a large amount of private student loan debt that was not part of my federal loans, which disqualifies her claim that everything will be forgiven. After she got me to agree to her terms, she had me open a document through my E-mail, she sent it twice, and I signed all of them under the impression that what she verbally disclosed to me is exactly what was in the agreement I just signed. It also needs to be noted in this summary: [----] did not take enough time to comprehensively discover my entire financial picture before she placed me in a program that does not benefit me, and solely benefits your company's revenue.
To my dismay, after ending a quite emotional phone call with her (emotional because I was lead to believe that I am about to receive a much needed financial relief), I took the time to thoroughly review her E-mails once more to find the that service agreement she had me signed had nothing to do with what I expected, especially my private loans. I then researched ad1docprep, projectupliftstudent, logged into my www.nslds.ed.gov account as well as my www.mygreatlakes.org account, even called mygreatlakes servicing company and americaneducationservices to find that your company is predatory and asks people to pay for services that is technically free from the servicing companies.
Note that I am enrolled in Income Based Repayment program for my Federal Student Loans and I am managing my own private student loans just. My Federal Student Loans are at a monthly payment of $0, and all of my loans are deferred because I am in graduate school until 2018. Your services are not needed. Thank you for calling, but please do not call again and please do not enroll me in your services. Just to make sure, I am calling my bank to warn them not to accept any ACH withdrawals from your company."
This is the company:
Toll Free 866-379-4124 Ext: 114
I am so horrified of this exact situation. I have had companies calling me claiming to erase all debt from my federal student loans for monthly subscriptions which stretch out to a year or more. I am so sorry that this happened to you, I personally have had a very different experience with this same company (A1 Doc Prep). I originally signed up with them in June of 2016. The 28th of June to be exact. The only reason I ended up calling this company back because they were the only ones who asked for three one time payments of $300.00 to prepare my documents in order to enroll into an Income Sensitive Repayment Plan. I did not originally know that I was able to access the application myself. I was under the the assumption that without this company I had no hopes or chances of getting any help on my student loan debt.
I had a male enrollment counselor (whose name I cannot provide) quickly run me through this process and briefly explained what the company would be able to do for me. After I had completed my first payment of $300.00, I became skeptical and called my lendor (Navient) and asked them if they had heard of such a program. Of course they said no, and immediately tried to pursue me to just complete the application myself. I was LIVID after I found this out and felt extremely cheated by the company. I then proceeded to call A1 Doc Prep and was transferred to a young lady who explained to me that she was a processor and would be able to address any concerns I may have had. I'm sure she heard the anger in my voice because this was the first thing she told me. I was on the verge of having tears pour out of my eyes. I then simply asked her to tell me exactly what this company was and what they claimed to do. She then explained that they were a third party document preparing service. She immediately told me that I would be able to turn in this application myself which surprised me and made me inclined to listen. She then explained that based on certain loopholes in this application they would be able to guarantee me a monthly payment of $0 over a term of 10 years. My lendor had told me that I qualified for a payment of $56.78 based on my income. I told her this as well, she then began to explain that my lendor is in fact my debt collector and will go to any length to collect a debt. Why would my lendor offer me a $0 monthly payment? Something clicked in my head at that moment. She explained further in detail as to why companies like theirs exist and also stated that there are many fraudulent companies out there that prey on desperate students with debt and claim to be the department of Education.
I decided to continue with this company in hopes that I was not being lied to. On July 29, 2016 I received my packet from this company. Everything was extremely detailed as far as what I needed to do, and everything was already completed for me (which was a relief). I signed and sent it off to the address which was provided to me. Fast forward to a few months later. I am now on an Income Sensitive Repayment plan paying NOTHING every month. I am so grateful. I have prayed many nights in hopes that someday this stress would be taken off of me. I have cried so many tears of sadness and joy.
I am absolutely in favor of this company. If I had gone with the options my lendor had provided me with I would still be paying $56.78 every single month. I only bring in about $17,000 a year and have two children. I just couldn't do it. I will always be thankful to them for helping me be able to focus the very little money I make on more important things, like my children.
As far as your situation, I am so deeply sorry that you have had to suffer. I know the feeling of being absolutely helpless. Every fruit has a bad seed and it pains me to know that you had to come across one in the way that you did. I was lucky to be dealing with all the right people who eventually got me to where I am now. If my opinion changes in the future I will be sure to post about it, but as of right now...I couldn't be happier.