Get Out of Debt Guy

How Can I Make ACS Verify My Student Loan Balance?

Posted August 25, 2015

Question:

Dear Steve,

Apparently I have a consolidation loan through ACS for double the original amount. I have another consolidation through AES and that amount is consistent (a bit more because of some forbearances). Original amount about 26K, amount they are claiming over 45K.
   
I have sent several formal requests for ACS to substantiate the loan amount only to receive paperwork for the original amount and what looks like a "typed-in" signature. Not even an e-signature? How do I move on this? Shall I ask for more information to substantiate the amount? What are my rights?

Denise

Answer:

Dear Denise,

An exploding balance is alarming. To see your balance growing so much that it approaches doubling is certainly a concern. But there are some very valid reasons why this might happen.

When you take advantage of a deferment, forbearance, or a reduction or hold on payments, that causes the balance to grow fast. Each month, if you are not sending money to at least cover the interest earned by the leander it will be added to the balance. If you were in default on the loan, additional fees and collection penalties can be added to make the balance grow. And of course a combination of these events can really inflate your balance, quickly.

Your concern is if the ACS loan is a valid loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provided examples of letter consumer can send to accomplish this goal. You can click here to see those letters.

The fact the documentation they sent you has what appears to be a typed in signature could just be evidence of a document that was electronically signed by you and does not require it to say e-signature.

But it sounds like you don't dispute you had a loan with ACS, just uncertainty over the balance they claim. In that case you would need a report on the history of your account to show how the balance was derived. This might even be available to you online if they allow you to login and examine your account history, payments, and charges.

The Agreement is helpful to look to determine what fees, penalties, and/or charges you agreed to when you took out the loan. If you are claiming the loan is fraudulent and you did not take it out, well that's an entirely different issue.

If you want to pursue this further you can either send the CFPB suggested letter(s) via some sort of traceable means or you could hire a local attorney to represent you in contacting the lender. A letter from a local attorney might carry more weight and generate greater attention by ACS.

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy.

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.