Referee dealing with complaints

Resolving Complaints with Navient or Sallie Mae

Michael Lux Student Loan Blog, Student Loans 9 Comments

Student loan borrowers have lots of complaints with Navient and Sallie Mae, but it seems these grievances often go unheard.

Of all the reader emails we receive, the most common boils down to the following: Sallie Mae/Navient did X… they should have done Y… what do you suggest I do?

Fortunately, there are several ways of dealing with Sallie Mae and Navient complaints.

Getting Started with Compliant Management

When resolving any student loan issue, the best thing you can do is get all your ducks in a row. If you had conversations via email, have all of your emails handy. If it is a billing issue, have your lender statements and your bank statements ready to go. Your goal should be to have any document that might be useful at your fingertips.

Where do I go for help when Sallie Mae or Navient Ignore my complaints?

Normally the first call to make is to the general customer service number. The person on the other end of the phone should be trained to help you find a solution, or to put you in touch with the right person. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

One practice that can be very helpful is to make sure that the person you are talking to has the authority to fix your problem. For example, suppose you submitted a payment over the phone and it was supposed to be applied towards loan A. Instead of applying it towards loan A, the service representative applied it towards loan B. When you call to have your issue fixed, make sure the person you are chatting with can help. You can ask them by saying: “I’m calling about a payment I made where funds were applied to the wrong account. Are you able to credit the proper account so that my payment is processed correctly?” If they cannot help you, ask to be connected to someone who has the authority to fix your problem.

Calling up the Navient and Sallie Mae Food Chain

If traditional customer service does not work, Sallie Mae and Navient both have customer service advocates. These individuals work for Sallie Mae or Navient, but they should be in a position to rectify any errors made. Think the customer advocate as ombudsman of sorts.

If you want to reach out to either customer advocate, their contact information is as follows:

Sallie Mae Advocate

Address:
Office of the Customer Advocate
P. O. Box 3349
Wilmington, DE 19804-4349

Phone:
(855) 342-2014

Navient Customer Advocate

Address:
Office of the Customer Advocate
P. O. Box 4200
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-4200

Phone:
(888) 545-4199

Email Address:
[email protected]

What if Sallie Mae or Navient isn’t helping at all?

If you have done everything you can do with the company and not gotten anywhere, you still have options.

If you have Department of Education Loans (better known as federal loans), you can submit a Navient complaint to the Department of Education Ombudsman. The Ombudsman page with the Department of Education has a great explanation of the process, as well as contact information for getting things started.

If you have private loans, the Department of Education Ombudsman will not help.  Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can be of assistance. If you file a complaint against your lender with the CFPB, they will be required to respond to explain their side of the situation. Having the CFPB act as an intermediary lets Sallie Mae/Navient know you are serious, and it also can help shed light on the issues to all parties involved. Here at the Student Loan Sherpa, we have previously discussed the steps to filing a Student Loan complaint with the CFPB.

In some circumstances, it may be possible to transfer your student loans to another lender or servicer. For example, borrowers denied a cosigner release by Navient may choose to refinance their loans with a new lender.

Organizing Your Thoughts and Getting Actual Help

Often getting an issue resolved comes down to your patience and ability to explain the problem. Yelling, losing your temper, or getting frustrated will only get in the way of getting your issues resolved. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get the person on the other end of the phone on your side.  If they want to help you, things will be much easier.

One thing to remind yourself is to focus on the facts, not your feelings. If you complain by saying something isn’t fair, you are not going to get very far. If you focus on the facts of your particular issue, you will get further. You should try to fill in the blanks on the following before you make your call:

I have an issue with Sallie Mae because they ______________________.

This was improper because ______________________.

In order to fix this issue, I need someone to ______________________.

If you are able to explain what your issue is, why it is an issue, and how to get it fixed, your odds of success will be much higher.

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Nicole Del Bosque
Nicole Del Bosque

I’ve been looking all over the Internet for this advice. Thank you so much for this article. Do you know if Navient or the Navient Customer Advocate has the authority to reduce the loan amount, issue credit, or reduce a consolidated loan’s interest rate? If not do I have to ask for help elsewhere?
I am asking for help on interest that has accumulated on a loan after a lengthly consolidation process. I used the online calculator on the Federal Website to see what Income Based repayment plans could do for me. When I saw the ICR was a reasonable monthly amount I called Navient multiple times, who also came up with the same estimate. After a messy consolidation process, and multiple errors placing me in the wrong income based repayment plan, the monthly repayment plan is 357 dollars more than the highest estimate I received for an ICR. They say it was due to a calculator glitch that lasted for months.
It’s unconventional to ask for help with the interest that is now capitalizing on itself due to Navient’s errors so I’m not sure I’ll get anywhere. If you have the time could you let me know your thoughts on this situation?

Jimmy
Jimmy

I am a cosigner for a student who is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree, and made the mistake of accepting a loan with Sallie Mae. They initially told her that she had to start paying back the loan after graduating, but now it turns out that she has to pay immediately. Ok fine, we are making the payments on time, but Sallie Mae made a mistake on their system and they thought that a payment was late for just a few days, so they started calling us. They have automatic bot
calls dialing my number sometimes starting from 8 am, multiple times a day, and when I answered the phone they were demanding in the most offensive way the reason for the student failing to pay the loan. It turns out that they made a mistake, and they apologized later, but their aggressiveness and their harassing strategies are just unbelievable. On top of this Sallie Mae keeps harassing me with emails too. Look, I am a reasonable person, I am a young professional who has been working as an engineer for five years, I always pay on time, and I’ve never submitted complains before, but Sallie Mae just crossed the line, what they are doing is called harassment. Their practices are unethical and might even be illegal, and they take advantage of students just to make a profit. I am working on submitting a formal complain, hopefully my complain will reach someone who can actually take decisions. And by the way, if you are a student who is recently starting a degree, please please please, don’t sign with Sallie Mae and make the same mistake that we did.

Hanna Reduto
Hanna Reduto
Reply to  Jimmy

Jimmy, check the promissory note for the loan or request it. The first clause is the promise to pay, the next is definitions. In the definitions clause there should be a definition for “Interim Period”, that is what it is called from the first disbursement to graduation or the other conditions listed below. As far as I know all Sallie Mae loans have that included in there promissory notes. If you do then you need to call Sallie Mae on it and file a complaint with CFPB because if the underlining conditions are not met then the student is still in that interim period of non payment. If there is no definition or mention of an interim period then because the student signed the loan believing that they would get that interim period and the Sallie Mae representative stated that, you can file a claim of fraudulent misrepresentation, which is illegal.

AJ
AJ

How do I reach a cust serv rep inside the U.S.A.? Every call, no matter what phone number I dial, is answered by a Filipino. I have never authorized a Non-U.S. Citizen to view or have any access whatsoever to any of my account or personal information.

JERRICA WEINSTEIN
JERRICA WEINSTEIN

Good article, Thanks!

Pamela Payne
Pamela Payne

This loan was arranged by the school I went to . I did not really understand that I was getting a Federal loan. I had the money to pay it all at the time. I was going to school to become a Dental Assistant at Concorde. No one told me that I could not assist a dentist because I was left handed. I finished school and attempted to assist a dentist, but I could not hand the dentist the instruments properly with my left hand. Therefore my schooling was for nothing. I became unemployed for three years My age came into play as I was close to 50. I received deferments until recently. I am 67 and living on my husband’s Social Security for the last year after his passing 3 years ago. Apparently they sold my loan to another company and they told me if I did not pay it, they could take it out of my social security, even if it meant I could not live on what was left. What can I do? PS I have never been able to reach anyone or use the web site.It would not let me in.

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  Pamela Payne

I have a couple thoughts. First, this article was specifically written for borrowers on social security: https://studentloansherpa.com/borrowers-social-security/ Hopefully it helps.

Also, if you feel that you were misled by the school, you may want to investigate the borrower defense against repayment. The current admin isn’t processing these applications at the present, so it might take a while to resolve, but it could be a viable path forward for you.

Best wishes!

Dona Leigh
Dona Leigh

Navient and the Dept of Education has embezzled $6402 from me..Is this a federal issue so FBI or local police?

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  Dona Leigh

That is a tough question. Proving something like that would be difficult. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is probably best equipped to handle it.

I’ve never had to report a financial crime to my local police or the FBI, so I wouldn’t know how to do it.