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Problem with Alberta Student Loans/Crown Collect

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hearse83 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25/September/2017 at 11:27am
Unfortunately I was ignorant about what happens to a student loan when you don't pay it and it went to collections.

I had lost my job when the company I worked for folded, and unfortunately I wasn't able to make payments on all my bills. My Alberta Student Loan was my cheapest bill, so it was the one that got put to the back of the pile. After two months they sent it to metropolitan credit adjusters for the full amount of $4000. 

After they contacted me, they indicated that I could apply for something like 'financial hardship' - as clearly I wasn't able to pay an entire $4000 at once. So I did, and they bounced it back to the government. Now here's where things get REALLY messed up.

I called metropolitan to ask what my next step was. They said, call crown debt collections, because once it goes back to them, they have nothing to do with it. I called crown debt collectors and they say nothing has been decided yet, and it will take 6-8 weeks to make a decision and send it to me by mail. That was at the end of June. Apparently in July they sent me a letter but I didn't receive it. At the end of August, after waiting 6-8 weeks and not seeing anything, I called them. They told me I could only make payments by cheque, and I could only mail them. So I did. Then a week later metropolitan credit adjusters calls me and says the loan is in collections again due to non payment! 

I called crown debt collection back and they told me, "well we sent you the letter you for sure must have received it, and if you sent us the cheques we will for sure get them." They gave me two days for the cheques to arrive in the mail. I was furious, because the onus on whether my loan was in financial distress status or collections was based on something that was out of my hands. SO I EXPRESS POST NEW CHEQUES TO THEM WITH TRACKING - Success, I see the cheques were delivered to them in the time frame they were asking.

Oh, but what happened after that? Metro calls me and said there's nothing they can do, the crown decided they were putting my loan into collections and because I didn't call them to follow up, it's my fault. Even though I have tracking that said they were delivered. Now they want me to pay $170 a month on it, and I just can't afford it, or go to a high risk lender, which seems crazy.

What are my options here? I complied with them every step of the way, both metropolitan and crown collections. They were the ones that dropped the ball but they refuse to admit it.
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hearse83 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hearse83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/September/2017 at 12:29pm
I also would like to add that metro keeps telling me 'the government guideline is $170' when they are telling me how much I have to pay. I told them straight up, I'd pay them $83/mo as that's all I can afford. I have no idea what they're talking about in terms of the 'government guideline'
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Johnny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/September/2017 at 4:44pm
This is how the system works unfortunately. There is no one to really govern them. They make the rules and call the shots. If all you can pay is what you claim then they have to accept it really. It would be a careless waste of Alberta taxpayer money if they do anything funky. 

What was this application for financial hardship that they spoke of? was it to have the loan set aside due to hardship with extenuating circumstances? 
The Canadian Financial Wellness Group (CFWG)



www.cfwgroup.ca
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hearse83 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hearse83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/September/2017 at 8:22am
I have been working, but my wife is on mat leave, and my income is low at the moment. They said that there is an interest free option called 'financial hardship' where it doesn't go to the collection agency. The problem is after my application was sent, they didn't follow up with me. Then they bounced it back to collections. I even phoned them on occasion to find out what was going on, and their response was to 'keep watching the mail.'

Something even more funky happened today. First thing in the morning I received a call from the Crown saying that they received the cheques via expresspost and that they were going to honor them. But I had to argue with the woman I was dealing with to get this out of her. She admonished me for talking to Metro, and telling them my story. 

"We monitor all communication with Metro!"
"Yeah so..."
"You told them I only gave you two days, that is not true"
"Yes, that's exactly what you told me."

Sounds like the collector for the Crown got her hand slapped over the terms she gave me by whomever monitors the conversations between the customer and metro. I had to stop her right in the middle of her sentence to ask her what the purpose of the call was. 

I absolutely cannot believe how these agencies act. If I behaved the same way in my business I'm sure I'd be fired outright with cause. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Royal-NCO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/September/2017 at 7:53am
It's game playing, pure and simple.  This is one of the main reasons why people run from their student loan debt.  You deal with this hassle long enough, and you finally reach the point where you say:  "Oh, to hell with this crap!"  Any other company/individual would be fired and not paid for this nonsense, so why should we pay?  Because, they're protected by the Canadian government who can destroy our lives.

Good luck, I hope Johnny can help you through this.
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