In 2001, I was approved for 2 student loans through Sally Mae. Unfortunately I did not finish school since during my last quarter I became pregnant and had to drop out. Fast forward 6 years later. I began receiving letters about debt consolidation from this company ECMC. My dad advised against doing it, but I didn't listen. I figured it would save me some money in paying back my student loans. Unbeknownst to me that Sally Mae had sold my loans to them. Several months to a year later, I receive a wage garnishment letter from ECMC's collections department along with a form to dispute the garnishment based on financial hardship. I have a severely handicapped child and am a single mother, so I figured it should be no problems proving my financial hardship to them. I sent in copies of all documents, including pay stubs, medical bills for my son, copies of his medical records and diagnosis, utility and rent payments, and other miscellaneous bills. Several weeks later, I receive a denial letter from their collections department stating that I had not proven that the amount they requested to have garnished from my paycheck was a financial hardship in my case, and they began garnishing $232 a month from my pay which then made me barely able to afford my rent. I ended up being evicted for no longer being able to afford my rent.
This took place for 12 months, and I was unaware of how to cease the garnishment so I felt as though my hands were tied. Fast forward to January 2010. I filed my income tax return and was expecting a nice $4500 refund. A week goes by and when I call the tax preparer to find out the status of my refund, I start getting strange replies that there is no further information about my refund. Another week goes by and I contact the IRS to find out what is going on. They tell me that my refund has been intercepted or offset. I'm racking my brain to find out who and why. They give me the student loan database webite address and advise me to check there to see whom I may owe. I immediately notice that it is ECMC. I contact them tell me that they had the right to intercept my tax refund and that there was little if any possibility of me getting any of that money back. I begged and pleaded with them to return my income tax refund so they advised me to fill out a tax refund offset request form to have the funds returned. After filling out those papers and sending it in with all of my financial documents and fighting with them for roughly a month, they finally returned my tax refund. When I questioned one of their collections reps named Debbie about why my loan amount had not decreased, she explained to me that it was because those payments were not "voluntary". What the hell difference does it make whether or not the payments were voluntary or not? That was $2,784 that was taken from my wages for 12 months and not applied to my loan. As of this date, I still owe them $3,250 according to their records. So, where has that almost $2800 gone that was taken from me over the course of 12 months? According to my calculations, I should only owe them $466 as of today's date. I recently received yet another tax refund offset request I assume to have this year's tax refund garnished as well. I was offered to be placed into their "loan rebab" program paying $35 a month after my wages started being garnished again and foolishly gave them my bank information so the payments could be automatically debited. Unfortunately, when my ex fiance and I broke up, I closed my account and had to start all over again, so when they went to debit their payment, it was returned by my bank. Now I am back fighting them yet again to keep them from putting my loan back into garnishment. This past week, the money was in my account for them to debit their payment on time. They never debited the payment and one of my other creditors debited their payment instead, so that left my account with $25. I called and tried to explain this to them, only to be sent several notices that my repayment plan was in jeopardy of being canceled due to the payments being returned by my financial institution. How can this company get away with taking someone's hard earned money and not applying it to their account balance? I am tempted to just let them offset my tax refund and allow them to take their $3200 if that will get them out of my hair, off my back and out of my life. Too bad student loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy because if they could I would have filed a long time ago, just to get rid of that debt. If I could quit my job and be a stay at home mom with no income, I would just so that they couldn't touch my money! I am just fed up with this company and their harassment and want this nightmare to end. If I had known going to college to better myself would have ended in this sort of problem, I would never have went or just paid for it myself if I could've afforded it.