How do I file a complaint about my student loan company?

Michael Lux Best Of, Student Loan Blog, Student Loans 9 Comments

Dealing with student loans can be a frustrating process.  From time to time we get bad news from our lenders.  Sometimes, what we are being told seems flat out wrong.

When you feel like you are at your wits end, it is important to know that you do have options.  One of the better options may be filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB).  The CFPB was created in response to the mortgage crisis and subsequent recession.  The purpose of the CFPB is to protect regular people from being taken advantage of by financial institutions.

The CFPB has had some difficult achieving its objectives during the Trump administration, but it is still an agency tasked with protecting consumers and staffed by many who are passionate about helping others.

Not only is filing a complaint with the CFPB easy, but doing so can get you results AND the information can be used to help others.

Filing a complaint can help others

One of the best examples of the CFPB complaint process making a difference was when they exposed the practice of auto defaults.  A number of people complained to the CFPB that even though they had never missed a payment, when their co-signer died, their loans were automatically placed into default.  CFPB used these complaints, created a consumer alert, and brought some attention to this nasty process.  It was a positive step for many borrowers.

Filing a complaint can help you fix errors or mistakes

Did your loan servicer make a mistake calculating your balance?

Was there an error processing your payment and now you have a late fee?

Filing a complaint can also bring attention to your individual situation.  When you file a complaint, your information is sent to your student lender.  They will have 15 days to respond to your specific complaint.  According to the CFPB all but the most complicated complaints are expected to be resolved with 60 days.

The good part about this process is that you are getting a third party involved in your dispute with your lender.  Obviously the CFPB is not some magical entity that can fix any problem, but it is one step you can take to ensure you are treated fairly.

How do I file a complaint?

The CFPB has several different complaint forms for various financial institutions, including a student loan complaint form.  The form is broken into 5 easy steps.

  1. What Happened? – This is the step where you explain exactly what went wrong with your student loan.
  2. Desired Resolution – For this part you explain exactly how you think the situation should be fixed.  (Tip: Be reasonable, if you ask for a million dollars and a unicorn, you won’t get it)
  3. My information – This is your contact information, make sure you give them an email that you actually check.
  4. Product Information – This is the part you submit information about your lender AND upload supporting documents.
  5. Review

Tips for filing a complaint

You will get the best results if you are reasonable and have good supporting documentation.  The best way to communicate with your lender is via email or letter.  Phone may get the quickest results, but you have very little in the way of proof at the conclusion of a conversation (unless you have a recording).  For this reason, lenders are hesitant to communicate via email or letter.  Even if you are forced to communicate by phone, at the very least you can take notes of your phone calls.  Track the time you called, who you spoke with, and what was discussed.

If you are going to submit a complaint, you might be able to make it better by discussing it with others first.  In addition to the people you may already know, there are facebook groups dedicated to student loans and student loan discussion forums.  Be careful not to share any personal identifying information, but going through the exercise of discussing it with others first can help you better articulate your complaint and help you identify the key issue or issues to focus on.

Start your complaint with the CFPB here.

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Retired By 40
Retired By 40

I’ve never had to do this, but I’ll keep it in mind if I ever do. The ways things are going with student loans, quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised!

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  Retired By 40

Exactly. I wish it was a resource that nobody needed, sadly student loan problems are all too common.


I am currently in college and received a phone call I was late on my student loan. I make my payments on time every month. I logged on to my account and found out my name was on some else’s student loan. All my personal information was on a Plus loan I never applied for or even considered. When I called Navient they told me I would need to call their fraud department… They were the ones commuting fraud? Things that make you go hmmmm. After speaking to Navient in numerous accounts I did call the fraud dept. the lady was very rude. I informed her this is Navients mistake not mine. Long story short they then blocked me from my own online account. A customer advocate from Navient called and treated me like I didn’t know what I was saying. I took pics if screens showing my name on an account that is not mine. I was born 1883 and the persons account my name was placed on had a date of birth of 1953. Something fishy going on. I filed a complaint with the better business bureau. How many other people has this happened to. Do they add other people’s debt in your account??

Tony Abanilla
Tony Abanilla

I am getting completely taking advantage of, I submitted evidence that when I attended school in 2009 and did not finish the School sent the money back to the lender. They told me it would take them 30 days to review the evidence given.

That’s not the worse of it, I have been having my wages garnished, and tax offset twice, every payment they have received gets posted on my account the day after not this time, my employer sent them 900 dollars, which would have brought my balance to 500 then the irs just sent them 2000 dollars but it will take up to 4-6 weeks before that shows up on my account meaning ill still be paying a loan that would be completely paid off I need guidance as I feel I am getting taken completely advantage of.

Marcie Churchill Rader
Marcie Churchill Rader

I also received a call that a loan was overdue. I had never been late on a payment and have all payments on auto deduction. Navient tried to take out 9 times what they normally deduct without any prior notification that the loan payment amount was going up (I did receive notification 2 weeks after the withdrawal). The withdrawal cost me $84 in overdraft fees. One of the loans was not supposed to come out of my account, but from my son’s account. They tried withdrawing that as well. When I was speaking to the representative on the phone his response was, well, it was overdue. Really? I call it theft. My son had called a month ago to put the loans in forbearance and and was told that no payment was due until September 22. but they continue to call and demand more money. Now they will not talk to my son about the loans unless he pays them $1170. He has one loan that was not covered last month because of the withdrawal issue. That meant he was $200 delinquent. He already paid them $60 to try to talk with them, so it should really only be $140. They are absolute crooks! As his cosigner, I am getting 3 calls a day. They will not work with us at all.

Barbara Joy
Barbara Joy

Navient refuses to release me of any responsibility for repayment of two large loans my estranged daughter of many years opened, listing me as a co-borrower. They were “smart loans”, opened on an internet site and therefore have no signatures, which I learned after requesting a copy of the loan applications. Despite filing a report with my local police and forwarding a copy to Navient, their half-assed fraud investigation concluded that I AM responsible and that they found NO fraud. Why? Because all of my personal information is correct on the application; something that identity thieves do not typically have. This, in spite of the fact that she listed an incorrect salary for me and the incorrect number of years I have been with my employer. Navient relentlessly calls my home and my cell number at least 10 times every day. They have discharged one loan and listed default on my credit report, and they keep sending me correspondence via UPS that they are litigating the other loan. I CANNOT take it anymore. They WON’T stop!

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  Barbara Joy

One option would be to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The vast majority of the time the company you complain about is forced to respond to your complaint by the CFPB.


I am having problems with Navient. I only signed for one student loan, now they have informed me that I have six loans. How can this be? I never gave permission to them to put my name on the loans before the one I signed. Help Please, they call day and night not one time several times a day.

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  Beulah

Filing a complaint might get your problem solved.

However, if you suspect fraud or think that there is a contractual dispute happening here, it might be a good idea to hire a local a attorney to help you resolve the issue.