The following letter serves two purposes: 1: As an important exercise in frustration-release. 2: As hopefully an instrument to cause some change (or at least inspire some shake-up) for the dreaded Sallie Mae Loan Servincing company. Check or no on Monday, this puppy is going out in the mail to Sallie Mae, my lender Citizen’s Bank, and to the US Department of Education.
Sallie Mae Servicing
PO Box 9500
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9500
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing this letter to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the handling of my accounts by your loan servicing company. There are several reasons why I plan to choose another company for my future loan servicing needs, which all derive from the incompetence demonstrated by your company’s representatives in “assisting” me with my claim.
As an international student in Canada, I am dependent upon the funds that were scheduled to be released to me on August 6, 2002. In June I worked with both my university and with Sallie Mae, to ensure that these funds would be available for the 2002-2003 school year. I was told at that time that there would be no problem in processing these funds, and that I should expect them to be dispersed in early August. Given this information, I went ahead and planned my move from Georgia to Saskatchewan, counting on these funds to be available following my arrival in Canada. This loan is mainly needed for living expenses and to supplement the money I would need to spend in transporting my possessions across the country.
After arriving in Saskatoon in early August, I waited a few days after the August 6 dispersal date in order to allow time for my loan check to be processed by the university. After several days had passed and the university had still not received my check, I called Sallie Mae to determine the status of my loan. On two separate occasions I was told by different customer service representatives that the loan check had indeed been mailed out on August 6, 2002. When another week had passed and my loan still had not arrived, I called Customer Service once more –– and only then was I informed that there seemed to be a problem with my account.
Apparently the funds had only been available to be disbursed on August 6, but since Sallie Mae had no copy of my Master Promissory Note, they could not release my loan monies, and had not mailed the check as I had originally been told. I did have a signed and completed Promissory Note on file with Sallie Mae, but according to one representative, it had been lost or never placed in my computer file (supposedly due to an error in the Imaging department). I was told that the original copy of this promissory note had been supposed to be mailed back to me in June –– but neither I, nor the university, had ever received it. I was then told by a manager in the Customer Service department (by the name of “David”) that he would personally try to track down the missing document and call me the following morning with his findings. I never received such a call.
I continued to try to work with Sallie Mae customer service agents in order to reconcile their error, until finally I was informed that I would have to submit another copy of the Promissory Note document to be placed in my file. I sent this document by overnight express mail, at my own expense, despite having serious financial problems at the time (due to the delayed loan check). After two days of processing, on August 19th, I called Sallie Mae again and was informed that the loan check had finally been approved and sent by overnight mail to my university. As of August 25, no sign of this check had yet been reported by my university (who know of my financial desperation and are specifically looking for it to arrive). When I called Sallie Mae once again to ask for an express-mail tracking number of some sort, I was told that this was not possible, and that the check had not, in fact, been sent by overnight express mail at all, but by regular mail instead. In addition to being placed on hold for half an hour at a time and being repeatedly disconnected, none of the agents were willing to give me a straight answer as to where this check is currently located. In fact, the different agents to whom I spoke throughout this entire affair continually told me different stories regarding my account status, adding to the confusion of my situation.
I am dependent upon these funds. As it stands now, even after the check from Sallie Mae arrives, I will have to wait for the university to process my tuition from the check before I can access the monies allotted to me for living expenses. Because it is now so close to the beginning of the academic year, the university cashiers have informed me that it will now take up to three weeks from the time my check is received for that processing to be completed. Additionally, because I am an international student with a student Visa, I am permitted to work a job only if that job is on the campus grounds –– and the job that has been arranged for me by the school does not start until September (with my first paycheck being at the end of that month). Thus, I am now in dire straits financially, due to the errors committed by your loan servicing department in misplacing my original promissory note and failing to inform me of the status of my account in a timely fashion, and also due to the general atmosphere of miscommunication and incompetance which seems epidemic within your Customer Service department. The unapologetic attitude with which your agents have approached this entire situation has also left much to be desired.
I am enclosing a copy of this letter to both the U.S. Department of Education and to my lender, Citizen’s Bank.
cc: US Department of Education