Hank Investigates: Student Loan Shocker

BOSTON (WHDH) - Graduation was the thrill of Robert’s life. He got his college degree. But he still had homework, paying back his student loans.

Robert: “I’ve been trying to do it for the longest time.”

Robert did get a job in the medical field, but money was tight. He says he spent most of his lunch breaks on the phone with the company handling his loan, trying to arrange lower payments.

Robert: “It was near impossible.”

Sometimes, he says, his loan servicer gave wrong answers. Sometimes, no answers. Always, the runaround.

Robert: “They’re supposed to work with you, not against you.”

And our investigation found sometimes graduates like Robert end up with a shocking surprise.

Hank: “So some people with student loans are paying more than they should?”

Attorney Persis Yu, National Consumer Law Center: “Absolutely, I think a lot of people feel demoralized about the fact that their loans are going to stick around even longer.”

The National Consumer Law Center says that runaround Robert got, they see it all the time.

Yu: “It is absolutely devastating for borrowers.”

We found the feds have been flooded with student loan complaints. Look at them all, more than 28,000 of them from angry borrowers.

After massive investigations, feds now say some companies:

• Charged illegal fees
• Overstated minimum payments due
• Processed payments incorrectly, and
• Illegally cheated many struggling borrowers of their rights to lower repayments

Seth Frotman, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “What we see is on top of that debt are illegal servicing practices that are adding insult to injury and really exacerbating that debt.”

Bottom line, some student loan bottom lines are increasing.

Frotman: “They’re still in this precarious situation through no fault of their own.”

Now the feds have ordered two student loan companies to pay millions of dollars in penalties and refunds.

And Robert may be the next to get help. As he struggles to make his payments, the feds are now investigating his loan servicer.

Robert: “I just want to pay the loans, I just want to get it over with, as everyone else does.”

So how do you know if you’re paying too much for your student loan? If you need assistance these are resources that can help:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/repay-student-debt

http://www.studentloans.gov/repay

National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance website:

http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/

Direct Link:

http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/repayment/federal-loans/

Tips for Dealing with Servicers:

http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/repayment/dealing-with-servicers/

(Copyright (c) 2017 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)