The student loan world is rife with financial pressures and troubles. Often times, graduates are hit with a series of problems which keeps them from paying their loans on time. In most cases, they’re able to find options for repayment that suits their current situation. But in others, such as with those who take loans from private lenders, the problems only start.
In some cases, those with student loan debt are sued by collection programs, often due to default or other issues. For those living in Ohio, such instances are all too real.
Several debtors are currently being sued by bill collectors from Ohio’s attorney offices, in part on behalf of Ohio State University. However, despite the age and amount of some debts, the attorney offices have attached aggressively inflated fees and costs associated with the action.
According to the Legal Aid Society, 4 individuals sued last year saw unreasonably high costs regarding their old debts. One man, for example, responsible for $900 in loans he doesn’t recall taking out in the 70’s is now facing an extra $1500 in fees, associated with the current amount of $2300.
This has come to light after the Legal Aid Society filed lawsuits in response to the court actions from 2015. The defense believes these charges are not only excessive, but erroneous and predatory by nature.
The Legal Aid, helped by lawyer Scott Torguson, is appealing to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to assert that the charges demanded are more than necessary. The FDCPA was initiated to help protect both consumer and debtors from unfair collection practices and aggressive tactics typically seen by credit agencies. In this case, it’s being used to help Ohio graduates fend off law suits.
Roughly 70 percent of the total is added to collection costs from total amount due, according to lender practices. While Ohio law does not allow private creditors to collect on these loans themselves, the increase in total debt owed is an unwieldy burden.
In defense of the actions by Ohio based loaners, the claim is that adding costs to what’s originally owed assures the amount doesn’t go to tax dollars.
However, Scott Torguson asserts the added fees are not disclosed to students. Loaners are unaware of the additional costs associated with their loans, assuming they go into default or fall behind on payments.
As of now, 3 of the 4 court cases against student graduates have been dropped. Mainly this is because the total amount of the added fees and collections cannot exceed 40 percent of the original amount owed. For example, Andrew Coleman was an attendee of Ohio State and borrowed $1600 from the Perkins Loan program. However, he faced financial difficulty and was unable to make payments in full. When courts pursued action to collect the debt, the added fees and inflated costs associated with the debt essentially nullified the claim.
Stories like these are prime examples of the ever growing student loan problem. Even when multiple repayment options exist, often graduates or debtors are still pursued through court action, which as shown, adds excess cost to their already heavy loan amounts.