You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans – NBC4 Washington
Sara Jenkins of Inwood, West Virginia, graduated from college several years ago, but like so many other graduates, she owes thousands of dollars in student loans. Jenkins had 14 loans totaling over $ 80,000.
“I didn’t pay at all because the monthly payment is around $ 600 and I don’t have $ 600 a month,” Jenkins said. His loans are in arrears, which allows him to suspend his payments.
To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 emergency, federal student loan borrowers have been automatically forborne, allowing you to temporarily stop making monthly loan payments. This suspension of payments expires on September 30, 2021.
This means that some might need help when those bills start to arrive again.
Jenkins responded to a “final notice” she received in the mail offering to consolidate her loans and cut payments, though she says she never received any prior letters. “I guess the final advice was just their way of getting my attention,” Jenkins said.
She thought the letter was affiliated with the US Department of Education, so she called the number on the letter. Jenkins said the rep told him for $ 800 that they would consolidate his loans and then deduct $ 39 from his account each month to pay off his debt.
Several months later, Jenkins said she became suspicious when the company contacted her to obtain paperwork she had already completed. She did a quick search online and discovered a number of complaints regarding Amerifed DocPrep. Consumers thought they were dealing with the US Department of Education and thought their debt was paid off, but in reality, that was not true.
Amerifed DocPrep is a private company. This fee of $ 39 per month is for preparing the paperwork not to pay off the loan. Jenkins said she contacted the company immediately.
“I said, ‘Why am I paying you? And she said to me, ‘You pay us to do the monthly documentation’, and I was like, ‘But Fed Loan Servicing doesn’t need monthly documentation, it’s just once a year’, Jenkins said.
Amerifed DocPrep discloses in fine print in its letter and website that it is not affiliated with the government. There is also a disclaimer that what they offer may be available for free through various government agencies. Something Jenkins said the Amerifed DocPrep rep left the conversation aside.
“It’s really important that people understand that telemarketers are experts at selling,” said Michelle Grajales, attorney for the Federal Trade Commission.
Grajales says if you need help with your student loans, do your homework.
“Definitely the first step, consider going to US Department of Education website and spend time browsing it. They have very clear information about the different income-based options, repayment options and what you need to do to qualify, ”Grajales said.
Amerifed DocPrep consolidated Jenkins’ loans and reduced his monthly payment, but it cost him over $ 1,000. However, she could have received the same results for free by contacting the US Department of Education.
“I would just strongly recommend that if someone receives these letters, or even for me if I receive another letter that says something like this, to call the Education Department first or call the incumbent. your student loan, ”Jenkins said.
News4 repeatedly tried to speak to someone at Amerifed DocPrep but no one called back our calls.