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Resolving Complaints with Navient or Sallie Mae

If you have a complaint with Sallie Mae or Navient, the key to a positive outcome is to contact the right customer advocate.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

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Resolving Complaints with Navient or Sallie Mae

If you have a complaint with Sallie Mae or Navient, the key to a positive outcome is to contact the right customer advocate.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

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

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

(855) 342-2014

Navient Customer Advocate

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

(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.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

25 thoughts on “Resolving Complaints with Navient or Sallie Mae”

  1. I was never told about my private student loans with Navient until recently . I never received a disclosure statement from them about this.

  2. My son’s private loan payment has gone from $1300 a month to $1700 a month in less than 5 months. We have paid 145,000 in the past 10 years and only 30,000 has been applied to principal.
    the amount owed now is actually higher than when he graduated.

    His Father and I have paid all bills for the past 10 years.
    We are not listed as co-signers since at the time he was entering college we did not have the credit to be co-signers. One co-signer has passed. Another is no longer a friend due to some missed payments in the past that they were hounded for and the other is my sister who is over 70 and is now on a limited income.

    Navient is not offering any solution that would help to create lower payments. We have offered to be co-signers on a consolidated loan. They tell us we cannot do this because we were not on the original loans.

    My son and his wife are expecting their first child, his father and I are both over 60 and we are all stressing about what to do.

    We do not want to default as this will negatively affect the original co-signers.

    We are desperately looking for suggestions and help. We do not want to default we just need lower payments.

  3. I have a late fee with my FFELP loans at Navient. When making a payment online, the total balance due shows the IDR amount, plus “unpaid fees” with a due date. These “unpaid fees” never seem to go away, and it has resulted in me paying more than the agreed upon IDR amount each month. I got clarification from Navient that payments are not applied to late/unpaid fees until unpaid interest is paid first, which accrues each month. But they make it seem like part of the total amount due is going toward satisfying these unpaid fees when, in fact, it does not. Extremely misleading. I feel like I’ve been getting tricked into paying more than I needed.

  4. Just want to understand if it is legal for Navient to report to the credit bureaus an increase in my student loan balances after they show that I have no payment due till 11/04/22? I ask because between August and September I payed off 3 of loans with them after which the website showed that my next payment was due on 11/04/22. I received a notice that there has been a decrease in my credit score. Upon investigating, I found that between September and the 19 of October, Navient added interest on my active loans and reported this to the credit bureaus while I am under the impression that I am in good standing/current with my account. This action caused my credit score to decrease 30+ points. Just want to understand if this is fair or legal practice.

  5. I made 6 payments to Sallie Mae via money order. I still have the 6 receipts. Amscot can still provide front and back of money orders. I put my SSN in the memo of each money order. Sallie Mae lost my 6 payments because they switched to Navient and I was never notified. They put my $40,000 stafford loan into default, charged me 25% penalty, sent it to collections where i paid an additional $11,000 in fees to them, and garnished my wages 25%. Once I rehabilitated my default, Sallie Mae found my 6 payments, acknowledged they lost them, told me I am SOL about the $30,000 in penalties as there is nothing they can do, then they mailed me a check for the total of my 6 payments. I was never 270 days late which put me into default. Sallie Mae told me to call Navient. Navient told me to call Sallie Mae. I called the obudsman and they told me neither Sallie Mae, nor Navient had any record of my 6 lost payments, or of writing me a check for the total of the 6 payments, which I cashed. I have 100% paper trail, and they refuse to credit my student loans for the $30,000 they cost me for their error, which they also need to credit me with the interest I paid for that additional $30,000 over the years. Sallie Mae, Navient, and the Obudsman have all failed me and I have a bank paper trail. It should be a slam dunk to prove their negligence. I started paying on these stafford loans in 2002. It has been 20 years.


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