• Report: #397530
Complaint Review:

Educational Credit Management Corporation

  • Submitted: Wed, December 03, 2008
  • Updated: Wed, January 21, 2009

  • Reported By:Orefield Pennsylvania
Educational Credit Management Corporation
101 East Fifth Street, Suite 200 St. Paul, Minnesota U.S.A.

Educational Credit Management Corporation ECMC stole our federal income tax refund, though my student loan was paid in full in 2006! St. Paul Minnesota

*Author of original report: ECMC finally admits to mistake by phone

*Author of original report: Contact US Department of Education Ombudsman for help

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I went back to college after having a child. Our family of three has an income less than $30,000, so the college arranged for me to have a financial aid. I had a loan for more than $15,000 for one year of college that was split between Sallie Mae and PHEAA. I made the monthly payments of $50 for the first year, then payments got "lost".

There were problems that could not be resolved with Sallie Mae or PHEAA without an attorney. We were forced to file bankruptcy and the court sold our home. They paid all of our debts including Sallie Mae and PHEAA. We got what was left which wasn't much and now we live in a crappy fixer-upper home. The bankruptcy was completed in October 2006 and we thought our problems were solved.

We kept our old phone number and got harrassing calls from ECMC. I gave them my new address and requested a detailed explanation as to why they thought I owed them money. PHEAA turned over our debt to ECMC which is a collections agency. PHEAA was paid in full and we have the cancelled check for proof. ECMC doesn't care and continues to demand money, mess up our credit and steal our tax refunds!

Last year I filed an Injured Spouse Allocation form with the IRS for my husband to get his federal income tax refund that was claimed by ECMC to offset a debt. We managed to get our 2006 refund back after several months. I filed the form again this year for our 2007 tax refund (we planned to use to pay our property taxes). After months of communication, the IRS said they "may issue a partial refund of $705" next month pending our dispute resolution. We may never get our refund and we need that money now!

ECMC refuses to accept our proof by phone, fax and mail. They were rude to my attorney and myself. I gave them chances to correct their mistake which was probably the fault of PHEAA, but since they refuse to fix it, I think they just want my money and don't care about what is fair or correct. See http://www.studentloanjustice.org/problem.htm where this is a common problem.

I have reported ECMC to many organizations including the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection who said they need to see a pattern of wrong-doing. I feel I have provided enough information to show that I am one of MANY people cheated by the loan programs and collections departments. I do not blame the IRS for referring our refund to a state collections agency, but I blame ECMC and PHEAA.

DO NOT GET A STATE LOAN! They will lose your payments and make you pay for education for the rest of your life!

If you or someone you know can help me with this problem, please contact me. My attorney, the trustee and other people can verify that this information is true.

Orefield, Pennsylvania

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/03/2008 04:09 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/educational-credit-management-corporation/st-paul-minnesota-55101/educational-credit-management-corporation-ecmc-stole-our-federal-income-tax-refund-though-397530. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

ECMC finally admits to mistake by phone

AUTHOR: Angrymom - (U.S.A.)

A woman from ECMC called yesterday and said they have reviewed my case. She FINALLY admitted that I did NOT owe them money and they will be refunding the amount of our federal income tax refund they stole last year. She said that they will mark my account paid in full for credit reporting agencies next month. I am still receiving "nasty mail and calls" since my account has not been fully resolved yet.

If I truly do see the money they stole, I don't feel that makes up for the years of harassment by phone and mail, the poor credit score and the additional fees incurred by us not having our money to pay our bills. I was treated like a criminal and didn't get an apology. Someone should be held responsible for not following up on the information I have provided so many times over the years. Someone must get fees for money collected, so they don't try to help students who actually do NOT owe money.

PHEAA is still at fault for turning over my account to ECMC, though they were paid in full. They refused to communicate or cooperate with me since my account was closed. They should have notified ECMC that they were paid in full and I did not owe money, but they didn't care. I believe both PHEAA and ECMC rip off students and don't care.

The US Dept. of Education Ombudsman is the person who finally got ECMC to acknowledge my proof of payment and their own mistake. It is sad that I had to spend years looking for the correct person to get action. Other consumer agencies couldn't even help. I won't believe this is resolved until I see the money and the revised credit report. And I believe I deserve more than just the original amount stolen. I would like interest and an apology. I don't want to see their name on my credit report.

The negligent parties (those who harassed me instead of resolving my case) should be fired. Of course, those are the people who make the money for ECMC, so they are probably partying on a cruise ship while I struggle to catch up with my bills. I hope they get what they deserve.
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#2 Author of original report

Contact US Department of Education Ombudsman for help

AUTHOR: Angrymom - (U.S.A.)

I have reported this problem to many offices. Senator Bob Casey's office returned the call I made yesterday. Alex referred me to Kevin who suggested the FTC since I get harassed by phone. I filed a report there and Barbara suggested I should call the IRS which I had already done. She suggested Fed Info 1-800-333-4636.

Fed Info said it was an unfair debt since it was already paid. She suggested the three credit bureaus for a copy of my reports, but I had already done that in July. They did not send my reports. She said to contact the Dept. of Education to get my credit reports updated.

I called the US Department of Education Inspector General's hotline at 1-800-647-8733 but they have strange hours. The answering machine does not take messages. The website says this is the place to report fraud, waste or abuse involving student aid funds, programs or employees.

I called the Info Resource Center for the Department of Education at 1-800-872-5327 and spoke to Monica. Monica suggested I call the US Department of Education Ombudsman for Federal Student Aid. I called them yesterday and spoke to Barbara. I called today and spoke to Claudia to confirm that I did talk to them since I have spoken to many different people and there are many Ombudsman for schools and loans. I have to wait until next week for a call.

I am still waiting for the PA Attorney General's office, the local Bureau of Consumer Protection to respond to the information I faxed yesterday in addition to previous information. They respond by mail and phone. While many people have an open case file, only the US Department of Education Ombudsman claims to be the correct department for my case. I wanted EVERYONE to know what is REALLY happening to US students.

The US Department of Education Ombudsman says they may be able to stop ECMC from taking our tax refunds and may even be able to return the money they took. I would love to take them to court and win. They should have to pay restitution for stealing our money, harassing us and causing financial and mental hardship.

ECMC had plenty of opportunities to correct the mistake caused by the PHEAA transferring the debt that was paid to them to ECMC. We provided the copy of the cancelled check to them and they refused to return our money and stop bothering us. This is a federal crime. I hope I can find someone who can help us finally stop this eternal theft and let us get our lives back. I am a slave to the phone and fax machine until this is resolved.
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