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Loan Repayment II—Wait…What??

And just as I suspected the left had did not, in fact, have any idea what the right hand was doing.  I am still sorting out student loan repayment issues and I’ve yet to make a payment, but I think I’m just a few steps closer to getting all this mess straightened out.

Friday I found out that I was very right to be suspicious of SallieMae showing up so late (and uninvited!) to the party.  Although I did my due diligence by calling them and asking specific questions to understand what was going on, they LIED to me, didn’t understand what I was asking, or both.  Turns out that SallieMae has “some” of my loans–several others still remain with the original servicer. Also, SallieMae does NOT, confusedcontrary to what they told me when I asked about it, track for Public Service credits.  In short, nothing of the process I began since October has yet to be completed and I had to ask for ANOTHER forbearance to give all the parties time to square things up.

I now know that fedloan Servicing is THE only servicer (at press time) that tracks Public Service credits.  Don’t let any other servicer tell you that they can do this for you because if you make payments to them, those won’t count toward your Public Service credits (I was supposed to start paying SallieMae on Feb 1, so that is why I had to get a forebearance from them.)  Someone along the line told me this about fedloan, which is what raised a red flag for me when I started getting the SallieMae letters.

If you’re working for a public entity it’s really important to get this straight from the beginning so that all payments you make count for Public Service credits.  Last month I was making calls, not sure to which place, but at some point I asked whether I needed to turn in any paperwork for this and  whomever I was speaking to that day said I didn’t need to worry about filling in any paperwork until I was ready to claim loan forgiveness.  Wrong.  As loan forgiveness has certain very specific criteria, there is paperwork that I needed to submit in order to start having my payments tracked.  Luckily, the person I talked with at fedloan servicing on Friday cleared up the confusion.  I got my form signed by my boss and mailed it that afternoon.

The other thing that I found out was that even though I filled out the paperwork to consolidate ALL my loans to one servicer, they got consolidated, but were sent to SallieMae and not fedloan.  Could this be because I didn’t yet have my Loan Forgiveness paperwork in?  Maybe.  But that’s how SallieMae got in the mix.

I think what added to the confusion was that I had to consolidate my  loans.  That meant I had two processes going at the same time: the consolidation and then the paperwork for them to set my repayment amount.   The consolidation was important because (when it’s all done) I will have only ONE company to deal with instead of two or three; that means ONE monthly payment.  Also, you can only get Public Service credit for what are called “direct” loans.  I can’t even begin to explain what that means, but suffice it to say my newly consolidated SallieMae loan has been converted to a “direct” loan and so now when fedloan gets my Loan Forgiveness paperwork they will automatically assume my SallieMae loans, assess the total and set my monthly payment amount.  Finally.  They will also keep track of my payments to give me Public Service credit and will evaluate my finances annually to adjust my payment amount based on my income.  It will be this way for at least 10 years.

You can see how the more servicers you have handling loans, the more confusing it gets.  That’s why I said, document, document, document your calls with these people.  Keep all your paperwork together and create a folder in your email so you can put all student loan communications in one place.  It is so easy to get confused.  Hopefully, this is soon to be sorted out.

In other news:  I’m still getting settled in my new job.  These last two weeks are the first since I started where we’ve not had any special projects in the office.   We are “just” handling the open record requests that keep coming in while simultaneously finding time for all the work that comesLucy with receiving responses back from the Attorney General on some of our matters. Sometimes I feel like Lucy in the Candy Factory.

I seem to have inherited a few challenging cases and sorting out their issues takes time and research and organization.  I spent a few days last week working on a legal memo on a question brought to me by my boss.  He told me that my written response would likely be sent up the chain pretty high, so I really wanted to be sure I did my best work.  I was pretty pleased with the final result and got a very nice email from the boss telling me that I’d done an “Excellent” job.   Then my little memo got hand-delivered up to the top floor of the building.

We’ll just have to wait and see where things go from here….

You Must Think I’m Stupid

Sometimes I just don’t understand people who do or say things without thinking them through.  I find that a quirky side-effect of four years of law school is the uncanny ability to more quickly realize when someone is blowing smoke up my nose.  Aside from the inevitable increase in my blood pressure, it’s like a mental chess game that only I know we’re playing when I am, most times, able to point out all the holes in their swiss cheese logic.

Example 1

So my mom has been trying to get a refund from the hospital for a Shingles shot she received in September.  She was told that she had to pay for the shot up front and that as soon as her insurance paid the claim, she would get a refund.

Sometime after that office visit she had a separate issue with her foot and went to another doctor for that.  The foot doctor said that she could treat the condition with one injection and that would likely be sufficient.  However, if needed, she could com back for a second injection that would cure it for sure.  As it turns out my mom was 1) unable to get back to the foot doctor because that was right about the time my dad passed away and 2) the first injection did in fact cure the foot problem.

What do these completely separate office visits for completely separate issues have to do with each other?  I have no idea.  What I do know is that the hospital business office got reimbursed for the Shingles shot by my mom’s insurance sometime at the end of last year, but continues to hold on to her $200 because (according to them) they have not yet billed for the foot shot because they are waiting for her to go back for the second one.  She’s told them she doesn’t need the second shot and has no plans to go back for it.  That’s ok, they tell her, they’re going to hold on to the money and wait for her to need their services again.  Huh?!?

In truth, what will probably happen if they haven’t filed a claim for that first shot is that they are outside the window to submit it.  Then, what they’ll do is help themselves to my mom’s money to pay themselves even though it was their fault for not filing her claim in a timely manner.

My mom has been round and round with them for months.  They keep putting her off and making excuses.  I went down there with her in February and they confirmed that yes, they’d been paid for the Shingles shot, and at that time a refund was supposedly requested, but “it will take 20 days to process.” (Read:  We want to hold onto this for one more month so we can get more interest off your money like we do for hundreds, if not thousands, of our patients.  We couldn’t make it without the ability to make free money off YOUR money!)

Needless to say, no refund ever materialized AND, even better, they didn’t even bother to call and tell her that they’d decided against returning the money for whatever reason.  Nope, she didn’t find out that the money was still MIA until she broke down and called them again.  This is when they came up with the whole “we’re waiting for YOU to go for your second foot shot” story.  A supervisor was supposed to call and discuss this with her…2 weeks ago.

I could write a 1000 blogs about how much I hate insurance companies and how I think they are raping thieves, but no.  Suffice it to say, I’m going to have to march down there this week with my mom and start throwing around the “F” word—FRAUD and see how we can get this resolved. I just don’t see any logic to their side of this argument.  Stay tuned for updates on this one….

Example 2

I placed a printing order online on March 3.  I opted for the order to be sent standard delivery, which according to the website, meant I’d have it in about 2-3 weeks.  I’ve checked the “status” link they sent me in my confirmation email several times in the last couple of weeks.  It provides absolutely NO status except in essence to say, “Yep, you placed an order!”

Last  week I receive an email that my order’s estimated ship date was on or before March 23.  I figured we were almost at a month and so it was fair to expect the order to show up last week.  Nope.  So by Sunday, I’m slightly agitated and since customer service is closed, I opt to use their chat feature.

Turns out that while there’s someone there to chat, he can’t give me any info because he doesn’t have access to the database.  That sets me off.

Me:  If you don’t have access to the database, what exactly are you there to chat about?

Him:  Well, our products and delivery methods.

Me:  Perfect, I want to know about the delivery of products that I’ve already ordered.

Him:  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.  What delivery method did you choose?

Me:  Standard, but I ordered this over a month ago.   Four weeks to be exact.

Him:  There is no guaranteed delivery date for items ordered with standard delivery.

Me:  That’s a stupid business model.  You sell time-sensitive products and you don’t guarantee the customer will get them in time for their function?

Him:  Well, that’s why we offer rush delivery options.

Me:  When I ordered these a month ago, there wasn’t a rush.  You’ve created the rush by sitting on this order for a month.  Why should I have to pay an extra $30 for you to get these out the door when you’ve had a month already?

Him:  It’s just that rush orders get priority.

Me:  So, even though I ordered my stuff a month ago, if a rush order comes in after mine, you stop working my order and move the rush order ahead?  What, do you do standard orders in your free time?  I ordered 60 printed items.  Even if you printed 2 per day during a lunch hour, you’ve still had enough time to get these done.  It’s been a month.

Him:  I’m really sorry for the inconvenience.

Me:  If I don’t get these this week I will call back and get a refund so I can order locally.  I’m not impressed.

……

Later via email:  Congratulations!   Your order has shipped.  Below is the tracking confirmation number….

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Why is it that people, companies, entities etc. will take advantage of people for as long as they can get away with it?  Is it too much to ask for people to just do their jobs and treat people equitably?

I try really hard to be patient with people, especially those in customer service, because I worked in customer service for many years during and right after college.  So, when I lose it with “customer service” people, they’ve pushed me to that point.  I think that people are sometimes so jaded and tired of dealing with customers that they just talk and don’t even pay attention to what they say.  If you don’t have an education, can’t speak the language, or if you don’t have an advocate, you’re just screwed.  It shouldn’t be that way.  As a society, as a legal profession, we shouldn’t be OK with people getting the shaft.

I say, hold people/entities/companies accountable.   If I strive to fully resolve my own issues and those of my family, perhaps I’m making it a little easier for the next customer that comes behind me.  I like to thinks so, anyway.

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