On November 22, 2016, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that it entered into a settlement agreement with a national student loan servicing company over allegations the company violated various state and federal consumer protection laws. The investigation into the company’s student loan servicing practices began in December 2015. According to the Attorney General, the company failed to properly enroll students in federal repayment plans designed to lower their monthly payments, charged excessive late fees, and failed to comply with the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act. The company also allegedly violated Massachusetts’ debt collection laws by contacting consumers more than twice per week about overdue student loan payments. Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to pay a $2.4 million penalty, some of which will be distributed to affected consumers as restitution. The company also agreed to reform its debt collection practices and return any excessive late fee payments. The settlement agreement also requires the company to establish a borrower advocacy group, and a second-look program to assist consumers with income-based repayment plan applications and to provide second-level review of repayment applications that have been rejected.
Blog Enforcement Watch November 28, 2016