When you default on student loans, you may receive phone calls from agencies contracted by the Department of Education to collect on these loans. This typically occurs after being late or delinquent on your loans for 270 consecutive days. Once this happens and the phone calls have begun, your nightmare is just beginning.
Some collection agencies will stop at nothing to collect on a debt that they are handling. Although you have rights under the FDCPA to protect you from being harassed and threatened, it doesn’t stop them from reporting your debt to the credit bureaus and damaging your credit.
One company that you might see on your credit report is National Credit Services. You may have received phone calls and letters demanding payment of your debt, and you are not alone.
If you are unsure of how to proceed with your defaulted student loans, you can contact our office to speak with one of our experienced debt specialists who can assist you in rectifying your student loan default and debt.
Who Is National Credit Services?
National Credit Services (NCS), is a private debt collection agency that collects debt for various commercial, financial, and retail organizations. They are also contracted by The Department of Education to collect on defaulted student loan debt.
National Credit Services began in 1995, and they are based in Bothell, WA. You can contact them online ncscollect.com, by calling (800) 324-7564, by fax (425) 398-6675, or by mail: 2525 220th St SE, Suite 200 Bothell, WA 98021-4440 regarding your defaulted student loan debt. They have representatives available from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday PST.
NCS Complaints, Reviews, And Lawsuits
There have been many complaints regarding the collection practices that have been performed by NCS. There have been 83 filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and around 33 complaints that have been filed with the BBB regarding the inaccuracy of reported debts and failure to respond to debt verification requests.
There have been a couple of class action lawsuits one in 2017 and another in 2019, regarding deceptive and misleading collection practices, and violating federal and state laws by improperly stating consumer rights.
Why Is NCS Contacting You?
If you received a letter or phone call from NCS, it is because The Department of Education provided them with your defaulted student loan. This only happens when you fail to rectify the situation with The Department of Education, or the Default Resolution Group. The last resort is to send your defaulted student loans to a private collection agency such as National Credit Services.
What To Do When NCS Calls You?
There are many ways that you can handle communication from National Credit Services. First and foremost, National Credit Services is obligated by law to provide you with the following information:
- Original Creditors Name
- The amount that you is owed by you
- Inform your rights which include disputing the debt, and your right to request information regarding original creditor
You must collect the following information when you receive a phone call from an entity that is identifying themselves as National Credit Services:
- Get the caller’s full name and repeat information back to the caller
- Information regarding the debt that includes the date, total amount including interests, penalties, fees, and the principal amount that you currently owe.
- Make note of the number that they are calling from, including the date and time for future reference.
- You should also keep a log of each time you receive a call from them, and what was discussed.
Know Your Rights Under The FDCPA
You must know what your rights are under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when you start receiving phone calls from National Credit Services.
Here is what they cannot do:
- They cannot call you before 8 am or after 9 pm.
- They cannot harass you about your student loan debt
- They cannot mislead or deceive you regarding the collection of your debt
- They cannot keep calling if you have notified them in writing to stop
- They cannot communicate with you if they are aware you have an attorney
If you feel that any of your rights under the FDCPA have been violated, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
How Can I Stop The Calls?
To stop the calls, you would need to get your student loan debt out of default. By getting your loans out of default, you are also able to stop National Credit Services from garnishing your wages and tax returns.
Another way to stop the collection calls would be to send a written request to National Credit Services, informing them that you wish for them to cease all forms of communication unless it is regarding a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, if you fail to handle your debt or you continue to ignore their phone calls, they will continue to negatively report information regarding your debt to the credit bureaus.
How Can I Get Student Loans Out Of Collections?
If you are trying to repair your credit and you have student loans in default or collections, your first priority would be to get the student loans out of collections or default.
You have several options available to you which includes:
- Pay your debt in full
- Rehabilitate or consolidate your loans
- Negotiate a settlement amount
- Set up a voluntary payment agreement
- Dispute the debt
What You Should Know About These Options
Paying off your balance– If you have the money to pay off the balance, then you probably wouldn’t be in default, to begin with. However, if you happen to receive money for inheritance or some other large settlement you can always pay off the debt.
Negotiate a settlement amount– If paying off the debt in full is not an option for you, you can consider negotiating a payment amount with National Credit Services. The downside is that the amount that you negotiate upon, needs to be paid immediately.
Rehabilitating– your federal loans requires making 9 on-time monthly payments to get your loans out of default status. If you attempt to consolidate your student loans, you will need to repay a new Direct Consolidation loan, by following an income-driven repayment plan. One of the requirements is making 3 ontime regular payments before your loan will move out of default status
Voluntarily enter into a repayment agreement, can be done through income-driven repayment plans. These plans allow you to set up monthly payments based on what you can afford.
Dispute the debt– if you feel the debt was sent to the collection agency by mistake. You should notify National Credit Services in writing that you are disputing the validity of the debt.
*Note– If there is currently a wage garnishment in effect, you will not be able to consolidate your defaulted student loans until such garnishment is lifted.
If you need help determining the best route to take when handling student loan debt in default status, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced debt specialists that can help you deal with the debt and agencies.
The Ramifications of Student Loan Debt In Default
There are many ramifications when you allow your student loan debt to go into default. This can affect your income, credit, and professional career of the default is not remedied.
Here are examples of the harm a student loan debt in default can do:
- You will have additional fees added to your loan when it is placed with a collection agency. These collection fees can range from 18-40% of your original loan balance.
- Your wages and tax returns can be garnished and offset.
- If you have a professional occupational license it can be revoked, or a hold can be placed on it, which will prevent the renewal of your license.
- You are ineligible for federal student aid and any type of deferment options.
- You could miss out on a job opportunity if an employer chooses not to hire you because of your student loan default.
- You lose subsidized interest and loan forgiveness options when your loans are in default.
- Social security retirement and disability benefits can be affected.
The best way to deal with NCS is to not have to deal with them at all. That means handling your student loans before they reach a collection agency. However, we understand that sometimes things arise and you are not able to make payments on your loans, but if you communicate with the service provider of your loans before it gets too far, you will have more options available to you to avoid dealing with collection agencies.
Your loans do not need to be in default or collection status to seek help from one of our loan financial advisors. If you are struggling to make payments on your student loans and need guidance on how to take care of the situation and the options that you have, contact our office and we will be more than happy to help you.