This has been an ongoing and long term issue with American Education Services. To recap, I've had trouble making payments in the past, due to the large monthly amount, periods of unemployment and underemployment.
I'm willing to admit that I was irresponsible financially when I was in college and just after college, but over the last five years I've been attempting to make payments regularly and for the amount in question.
There is the standard complaints: The payments are too high, the customer service is awful, etc etc etc.
It's recently gotten worse.
To begin with, I spoke with a customer service rep who treated me in a very patronizing and rude manner. When I asked to speak to his manager regarding his behavior, he demanded I tell him why. I informed him, and he began to give me the run around about his manager. I kept demanding, and finally got through to his supervisor. She kept asking me what my complaint was, and when I told her, she said "Sir, I'm not seeing the issue here." Halfway through my explanation of the issue, she just hung up the phone.
When they called my parents (co-signers on the private loans), they did the same thing. Refusing to let my dad speak to a manager and treating him in a very rude, s****.>
It's bad enough that over half of my monthly income goes to pay student loans. But to be treated rudely is too much, especially when I'm barely able to make the payments.
I start looking for people to write too regarding this. I file a complaint with the BBB, and I file complaints with the FDIC. I hear back from the FDIC that they don't have jurisdiction over AES, and they then pass it onto the Pennsylvania Banking Agency.
The Pennsylvania Banking Agent informs me that because AES engages in interstate commerce, they don't have jurisdiction over AES either. In fact he goes on to tell me that NO ONE IS WATCHING THIS COMPANY.
Meanwhile I send emails to the board of directors at PHEAA (The parent company for AES). It turns out that the board consists of nothing but senators, representatives, and judges. Basically the people elected to enact laws to prevent the abuses that AES inflicts on customers, are profiting by it. One senator's office called me, left a voice mail, and informed me they were going to look into the situations.
I receive a form letter from AES detailing the general outline of my payments, and assuring me that their employees are trained to the highest levels of respect, and that I really couldn't have been treated that way. Also if I'm having trouble making payments there are a variety of options I could explore.
Here's where the rip-off happens. My loans are mostly private loans. The "options" only have to be offered once, and for no more than 12 months. When I first ran into financial trouble SIX YEARS AGO, I exhausted those options then. Now, I'm out of luck and they've threatened to take my parents house. I've tried to work with them, but they refuse to renegotiate the terms of my loans. When I ask why, they state it has to do with the bank holding the loan. When I ask to speak to that bank, I'm not allowed to.
Basically: I physically cannot make payments and eat. My option is pay my loans, or my family becomes homeless and I starve to death. AES doesn't care, the PHEAA doesn't care, and no one at the State level will pass a law or investigate. Why would they, they're making millions of dollars every year. There is no Federal oversight of AES and companies like it, so there's no accountability or agency I can file a claim against.