How do I warn as many people as possible about Sallie Mae loans?

I had a terrible experience with Sallie Mae loans. I spoke to a representative in April and took detailed notes during the phone call, and was specifically told that my repayment would begin on May 8, 2010. Lo and behold, I got a threatening letter yesterday about being behind in payments and “close to default!” It was the FIRST I had heard of it. After 45 minute nightmare of trying to get through to a human being at their customer service number, nobody would admit that Sallie Mae had made a mistake. Clearly, the person I had spoken to before had gotten my graduation date wrong, as I pieced together from what they told me. I started doing some digging and found out that MANY MANY others had had horrendous experiences with Sallie Mae-- getting incorrect info, making all their payments on time and then being told they were “in default”, checks getting mysteriously lost, etc. People need to be warned!!! You need to be ON YOUR GUARD when you deal with Sallie Mae.

What is the best way to get the warnings out? What are some good blogs, websites, discussion forums to go to? Places focused on general customer services, or students, or…? All advice appreciated! This situation is scary and people need to know about it before they sign their lives away!!!

Being able to provide documented cases of Sallie Mae being in the wrong would go a long way in your cause. Because as of right now, you have one anecdote and some dubious claims of “many many” others.

I think you should try to demonstrate that this is significantly different from any other large institution (financial or otherwise). I’ve heard similar stories about utilities, insurance, medical billing, universities, courts, and anything you could name. Each requires persistance, documentation, and a high tolerance for frustration.

For the record, my dealings with SallieMae have all been ideal, except for one thing: one security question is “what is your grandmothers maiden name?” I have pointed out that (1) this is ambiguous: all humans come with a maternal and a paternal grandmother; and (2) it’s ridiculously embarrassing for an educational finance company to omit the apostrophe in “grandmother[sup][’][/sup]s.” Apparently they do not agree because the error remains uncorrected.

Oh well, in a mere 14 years I can stop dealing with them.

As I’ve posted elsewhere on here, you should get in touch with the folks at They compile student loan horror stories from across the country and have formed a PAC or somesuch.

You have to find a way to convince all the people who have very positive experiences with Sallie Mae that Sallie Mae in general is dangerous. For instance, even knowing nothing about Sallie Mae I would assume that any sufficiently large institution would have at lease a few examples of borrowers having bad experiences entirely at the fault of the lender. But I have lots of personal experience with Sallie Mae, and knowing that they are constantly asking for my current address (and knowing that I’m obligated to ensure they have my current address), and that they have every detail online so it’s hard to be out of the loop unless you’re shirking in your responsibility. I think that’s what you’d have to overcome.

I recommend standing on a street corner and shouting about it.

Bonus points if you wear a sandwich-board sign on your body, too.

I would start a thread on a message board (Google-indexed, preferably) concerning your experience. And look, if you search on that site, you get all the previous articles on the institution:

For every loan company, there will be satisfied customers and unsatisfied customers.

In general, most people will have a satisfactory experience with most loan companies. Some people will have experiences akin to a root canal.

You’d be better off warning people to be very careful in general about taking loans.

Hell, that’s pretty much true for any business that conducts financial transactions of any kind - assuming they have been in business for a while and aren’t just some fly-by-night operation. Not very long ago we had “best companies” and “worst companies” threads going on this board, and I was amused to note that a few of the same companies were mentioned in both threads. :smiley:

Normally yes, but surely in a security question, where the correct answer is supplied by the client in setting up the account, the ambiguity is irrelevant.

I believe they also make you pick 3 or 4 questions from a list of 12-16, which you then answer yourself. So if you don’t have two grandmothers with the same name, you can pick any other question.

You’re assuming that I can remember which possibility I chose over the life of a 30-year loan. Each time it comes up, I have to check which name I chose. Not a big deal, and since then I’ve learned that it’s easier to lie with security questions (answering all of them “yoyo,” for example). But why introduce unnecessary ambiguity?