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Borrower Beware: Student Loan Service

Loans, Student Loans

This company is on the NerdWallet Student Loan Watch List. The list flags student-loan businesses and individuals hit by enforcement actions, court judgments or liens, or bad ratings from the Better Business Bureau. Learn more in Who Gets Listed. Have you dealt with this business, or encountered a suspicious student-loan company that NerdWallet public interest reporters should investigate? Let us know at watchlist@nerdwallet.com.

Student Loan Service signed settlements with authorities in Massachusetts and Washington state agreeing to cease certain student-loan “debt relief” activities and refund customers.

The settlements and about $560,000 in required refunds only encumbered Student Loan Service in the two states, leaving the company also known as Libre Technology Inc. free to operate in the other 48.

The California company allegedly charged hundreds of Massachusetts borrowers unlawful upfront fees and misled consumers about its affiliation with the federal government, the state’s attorney general said in a 2016 news release.

The attorney general’s release said: “Student loan ‘debt relief’ companies like Libre typically charge student loan borrowers hundreds of dollars to help them arrange lower monthly payments or resolve defaulted federal student loans. Often, these companies … fail to disclose that borrowers can apply for this federal loan assistance on their own and for free.”

Enforcement actions:

  • Under a 2016 consent decree, Libre settled a lawsuit filed by Washington state’s attorney general. Libre agreed to dissolve every debt-adjustment contract with Washington consumers. The company agreed not to collect fees in excess of what the law allowed, and not to promote its services in a deceptive manner. Libre agreed to pay the state about $400,000, almost all for customer refunds. In the settlement approved by a King County Superior Court judge, Libre denied all wrongdoing.
  • The Massachusetts settlement required Libre to pay $160,000 in refunds to more than 400 consumers in the state. The settlement filed in Suffolk Superior Court also required the company to clarify that it is not affiliated with the U.S. Education Department or the federal government. Libre had to dissolve its Massachusetts contracts unless consumers chose to stay with the company, according to the attorney general’s release.

What the company claims to provide: Student loan debt management and consolidation

Associated businesses/other names: DebtWave Credit Counseling Inc.; Nulo Debt Processing; NDP Services Inc.; Nulo Debt; Nulo Debt Processing; DebtWave Credit Counseling Inc.; Coastal Credit Solutions Inc. Student Loan Service also does business as Student Loan Service.us.

DebtWave Credit Counseling was fined $67,000 in 2016 for violating Texas banking regulations.

Texas officials said DebtWave contracted with more than 14,500 residents and transmitted at least $50 million without the proper license and legal protections through a third-party company.

Website: http://www.studentloanservice.us/

Based: San Diego

Management: CEO and President Antony M. Murigu

Sources: King County Superior Court, Suffolk County Superior Court, Washington and Massachusetts attorneys general