I graduated last May and consolidated my student loans through Sallie Mae. They broke my payments up into twice monthly segments; 99.13 for my small loan at the middle of the month and 206 for my big loan on the first of the month. I've been paying them on time and in full since November 07. I recieved a ticket book for the 99.13 loan last October that has tickets for 99.13 until Janurary 09.
Yesterday, I got a letter from Sallie Mae saying I hadn't been paying my small loan in full for months and that I owed an extra 5.40 on it. I know this is a small amount, but I was instantly panicked. I've been paying the 99.13 in full every month! I never got any letter saying the rate was going up (to 99.67) or a new ticket book or anything. You'd think if I had been paying the wrong amount of months, I would have gotten letters saying so, but it was nothing but silence from Sallie Mae.
Today, I called them. At first, I couldn't even get to a customer service rep. The phone tree said they had a longer than usual wait time. I thought since this was important, I didn't mind waiting extra on the phone. I wasn't even given this option. Instead, they said I could enter my phone number for someone to call me back, or just hang up and try again. I tried typing my phone number in three times, each time it was deemed "invalid". After three times, it said I had made too many mistakes and hung up on me! I had to call back TWICE more to get them to finally accept my phone number.
I got called back two hours later, and spoke to a man who kept putting me on hold for stretches of ten minutes, only to come back on the line to tell me he was still looking for my information. He said I had been paying the wrong amount and would need to pay the late amount. When asked why I hadn't recieved any information about the change, he said he didn't know. He claimed I logged onto the website last December and I should have known by that. I told him I have a sticky on my account that everything has to be mailed to me. I made that request when I started loan payments last Novemeber. I asked to speak to a supervisior.
The first supervisior I spoke with said basically the same thing the call center guy had. He didn't know what was going on, I had to pay anyway. After 15 mins of that, I asked to speak to someone else.
I finally spoke to a woman who took the time to try and explain what had happened. The answers only made me more enraged. Apparently, last October, when they sent out the first ticket booklet, they hadn't actually finished finalizing my loan payment. She claims they found I had to pay a few cents more per month and sent me a new booklet in November 07. I never recived this booklet or any letter saying my rate had changed. Essentially, I was paying the wrong amount FOR A YEAR and never recieved ONE LETTER telling me so. I know they have my correct address, they send me payment tickets for my big loan every three months just fine!
She claimed I had been overpaying my big loan, and that the overage went to the small loan. They were supposed to be seperate loans, how could money from one apply to the other? And how could I be overpaying it, if I was sending them the amount they asked for each month? She had no answers for me. None. She could not tell me why new info never reached me, why I had been overpaying my big loan, why I never recieved any late notices until yesterday. I told her I was upset and I had been assured I was paying the correct amount each month because the ticket book told me it was only 99.13. Why didn't I get a letter in December 07 saying I was supposed to pay more, why did I only get it yesterday? She had no clue. She ADMITTED it was Sallie Mae's fault, but that I still had to pay them the money, despite never getting any notifications. I was livid.
I told her I no longer trusted the payment ticket booklets since they had been wrong for AN ENTIRE YEAR and no one told me. She said she'd switch me over to monthly billing so this would never happen again. I told her it should have never happened in the first place. She assured me that it wouldn't go on my credit score, but still could not answer why my rate was increased, why I was "overpaying" my big loan, why I never recived any letters, nothing!
I'm still so upset. I'm putting a check in the mail for the 5.40 they want, and I'll get monthly billing, but I still think this was wrong. I know it's a small amount of money, but it's the fact I was apparently paying wrong for a year without notification and then overpaying my other loan that really bothers me.
Fuck you, Sallie Mae. Get your shit together!