Can a student loan lawyer help me?
If you’re feeling stuck in a student loan black hole, like in default, you might consider several options, including legal recourse. But is a lawyer the right way to solve your debt problems?
Qualified student loan attorneys can analyze your debt issues and fight on your behalf if you are sued. However, there may be other solutions to your problem that are free and do not require consultation, such as income-based reimbursement, deferment and tolerance, consolidation or refinancing.
If you need personalized assistance, attorneys may be a more affordable option than student debt relief companies, which charge an average of $ 613 for services you could get for free, according to an August report. 2016. NerdWallet survey. Whether or not you hire a lawyer, pay attention to the costs and look for free options and services first.
To help you determine if a student loan lawyer might be the right choice, NerdWallet contacted two student loan lawyers – Adam minsky in Boston and Stanley tate in Saint-Louis – on when to seek legal advice and how to deal with debt collectors, lawsuits and deceptive loan practices.
Tate: You should hire a student loan lawyer if one of two things is true: you are sued for a student loan, or you lack confidence in solving the student loan problem you are facing and want help. That said, if you are sued you may not need to hire a student loan lawyer to defend you, but you should at least hire one for a consultation. This way, you can know your rights, learn the litigation process, and be better equipped to defend yourself.
What are the advantages of working with a student loan lawyer over a student debt relief company?
Tate: There are only a few student loan lawyers across the country. In my experience, those who call themselves student loan lawyers are both highly skilled and experienced in resolving student loan issues. This combination of education and experience enables a student loan lawyer to effectively resolve your issues.
Minsky: Lawyers are a regulated profession, overseen by state licensing boards (called the bar) and subject to strict rules of confidentiality and the obligation to serve their clients. In other words, lawyers are accountable to you and their state bar. This gives you plenty of protections, while student loan counseling companies can be managed by unlicensed professionals.
What can borrowers do if they think they are being cheated or wronged by their lender or student loan manager?
Minsky: Borrowers should keep records of their communications with their lender or student loan manager, as they may need them later. If they sense that something has gone wrong, they can try to report the problem to management. Some lenders and managers have a dispute resolution body that can resolve some common issues. For example, the United States Department of Education has an ombudsman group that can review disputes between borrowers and managers. Borrowers can also file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which oversees many aspects of the student loan service. Ultimately, if borrowers feel like nothing is happening, they can contact a lawyer.
What are the first steps a borrower should take if they are sued by a private lender, receive calls from collection agents, or are in default and don’t know how to get by?
Tate: The first thing you should do when a debt collector calls about a student loan is a debt check. Do not pay anything until you have received written proof of your debt. Evidence should take the form of a promissory note and a document showing that the collector has been authorized to collect the debt.
Minsky: If you are in debt collection or in default, or have been sued, now is the time to find a lawyer. You may have rights and legal options available to you, but you may also need to take certain steps to use those options and preserve your rights. This is especially true if you have been sued. If you need a lawyer but don’t know where to start, you can try the National Association of Consumer Advocates, which is a national association of bar consumer rights attorneys, some of whom can handle consumer issues. student loan. You can also contact your state bar association for a reference.
If you need help with a student loan
A lawyer may be able to help you if you are in default, but before you get there, think about how to get back control of your student loan payments.
If you are struggling with your student loan debt, talk to your repairer or lender to:
Take a temporary payment break.
Temporarily reduce your monthly payments.
If your problem is with your lender or managing agent, or if you aren’t getting the help you need, look for a legitimate student loan service organization that offers advice. Consider these approved resources for student loan assistance; these are established organizations with verified histories:
Many of these organizations offer free advice. In some cases, you may need to pay a fee, such as with a nonprofit credit counseling agency or if you hire a lawyer.
None of the above organizations call, text, or email borrowers with debt resolution offers.
Offers of help that you have not requested are likely to be scams. While it’s not illegal for businesses to charge for services like consolidating or signing up for a payment plan, these are steps you can do on your own for free.
Avoid debt relief companies that ask for money up front.