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erudio student loans

(1000 Posts)
mrsbug Mon 17-Mar-14 17:37:30

Hi, I have an old student loan from 1998 which I have been deferring since then as I have never earned enough to pay it back (there are some advantages to being poor smile)

I recently had a letter from a company called erudio student loans saying they have bought my student loan from the government. All very reassuring about how the t and cs of my loan won't change, etc.

Now I've had the regular deferral letter from them and it's much more detailed than before. They want my bank details which I'm not really happy to give, and they say my details will be checked with a credit reference agency, which I don't think they used to do - my loan has never shown on my credit file.

Has anyone else had this? Do I have to give them this info?

wonderpants Mon 17-Mar-14 17:42:33

I also had one. I rang the phone number on it but it said it was an unregistered number.
I don't know why I need to tell them if I'm a homeowner or tenant either!

mrsbug Mon 17-Mar-14 17:55:45

That is strange!

What are you going to do?

clubcardpoints Mon 17-Mar-14 18:30:03

Sounds worrying - I'm also deferring my mortgage-style loan and got the initial letter from Erudio. Not had a deferral letter yet but was a bit concerned about the conditions for deferral. Am not keen on giving any more info than the original SLC company used to ask for.

TalkinPeace Mon 17-Mar-14 21:39:21

It may well be that they want to check that you ARE earning below the limit.
Contact the SLC and see what they say.

mrsbug Mon 17-Mar-14 23:20:54

Do SLC still exist or has the whole company been sold?

SLC asked every year for proof of income so that's nothing new, but it seems like the new company want more information that doesn't seem relevant, I'm a bit reluctant to provide them with it.

Financeprincess Mon 17-Mar-14 23:26:22

If Erudio now own your debt, then of course information about your assets and earnings is relevant. You owe them money! You wouldn't be uncomfortable about giving a mortgage lender your bank details, but the two situations are quite similar. Both are creditors who will want to be paid back.

mrsbug Mon 17-Mar-14 23:34:30

Maybe I am being a bit irrational, but when I took the loan out it was with a government body, I'm not that happy that it has been sold on to a private company.

I don't have to pay it back till I earn over a certain amount so why do they need my bank details now?

Assets aren't relevant, repayments are based on income only.

mandakl Tue 18-Mar-14 09:48:45

When you took out those loans you would have signed an agreement saying that you would provide them with updated bank details to maintain a current direct debit. No doing so, even if you are currently deferred, is a breach of your loan agreement.

I've got away with not updating mine with the SLC up until now, but not sure Erudio will be as lax. if I have to provide it so be it. If they take payments they are not entitled to I will have them refunded under the DD guarantee,

GoldenGreen Tue 18-Mar-14 09:54:32

The SLC also demanded you keep your bank details updated with them - that hasn't changed.

emptycoffers Tue 18-Mar-14 10:19:05

I'm in a similar position mrsbug. I took out loans in the mid 90s and have never earned enough to have to pay them back - always been able to defer.
A few years ago I stopped working and the SLC required that I submit a letter from my partner confirming any financial support was less than the deferral threshold - ie, less than £28k pa.
This has always been fine.
Now, it seems Erudio will want a letter confirming any income from partner PLUS bank statements (from me) confirming payments in to my account.
We just do our finances on an adhoc basis - I don't get a formal monthly 'wage' ... just whenever I run out of cash, my partner will give me a cheque for £500 or so.... never amounts to more than £4/5K pa.
We own our house jointly but as someone says, deferral is based exclusively on income, you could own a £1m mansion and have £100,000k in the bank but as long as your income from interest is less than £28k ish - then you are not obliged to make repayments.
Them's the rules - I didn't make them - the government did and I suspect they wish they hadn't.
I've read up on Erudio and they have a debt collection background and will no doubt look to exploit any loopholes or conditions to bring people into collection/repayment however, the govt. have said that the terms and conditions of repayment and the loans have not changed.
I suspect Erudio are subtly trying to unsettle people in deferral, to make them repay even when they aren't earning enough, by suggesting/threatening this may affect their credit rating.
I also recall (although I do not have my original credit agreement) that these student loans were offered on the basis that they would not ever affect your credit rating/would not appear on your record.
Erudio cannot legally change the terms of the agreement but like a lot of companies they may just threaten this/imply this to see if it works. They might even do it and just see if anyone pulls them up!
I would guess however that what they are actually saying is that they will 'check' your credit record to compare with the details you provide on the form. They are only 'checking' not adding new information - but that's me giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Even if they were permitted to include student loans on your credit record (which I don't believe they are) it would surely only be permitted, as with any loan, when the customer is in Default NOT deferral.
Also, they ask for telephone numbers which I don't remember SLC ever doing.
I won't be giving those as I believe you will leave yourself open to regular chasing phone calls/harassment - and there is no legal obligation to have/own a telephone.

emptycoffers Tue 18-Mar-14 10:32:00

As someone mentioned, I'm not sure of the relevance to Erudio of knowing whether you are a tenant or homeowner.
As the repayment is entirely based on annual income this has no bearing on deferral decisions which is why SLC didn't ask.
I suspect Erudio are data trawling and will attempt to use 'extra' information to indicate whether someone is worth chasing or pressuring.
I'm sure if people resist there can be no legal requirement or power to force you to reveal whether you are a tenant or homeowner so you could 'Leave any tick box that does not apply to you blank.'
They don't offer any justification or explanation for the question.

emptycoffers Tue 18-Mar-14 17:03:56

Checked around the area of mortgage style student loans and credit reference agencies and came across the following:
www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/2785070/Government-toughens-stance-over-non-payment-of-student-loans.html

So, it seems SLC was notifying agencies if you were in default anyway.

The Erudio deferment forms say they will be notifying agencies that you also have a loan in deferral, which seems to me to have a threatening quality in that this debt is not legally repayable until you earn over £28k anyway, but just in case any lender is considering offering you a loan, Erudio are going to make them aware that you have unpaid debts (even though you are not legally obliged to repay them) - like slurring your reputation by implication - I guess that's debt collection tactics - hoping that their method will pressure people, who may never ever earn above the repayment threshold, to repay a debt they don't have to legally repay, on the basis that Erudio will otherwise blacken their credit record - by implication.

Is that legal? Doesn't seem ethical.

LexieSinclair Tue 18-Mar-14 17:09:59

Watching this with interest.

I have a small income and DH pays some money into a joint account to cover household bills.

Does anyone know if I need to declare this as an income?

mandakl Tue 18-Mar-14 17:19:06

Have a close look at the loan agreements you signed.

Some of them ONLY give permission to share information with the credit reference agencies if you break the agreement.

emptycoffers Tue 18-Mar-14 17:25:38

Similar to me LexieSinclair - except into my own account. I think if you put down £0 as income, Erudio would query that and ask for proof of how you live.
But, unlike SLC, they are asking for copies of bank statements for evidence of financial support from partner/spouse.
So, if you have a bank account with no payments in, that should be evidence enough, one would think.
It's tricky. They ask employees for 3 months of payslips as evidence of income.
I know I haven't had any payments into my bank account in 4/5 months. But if I state that my partner supports me to the tune of say £400 per month, they will ask for evidence even though it's way below the repayment threshold.

Their approach will only become clear as people apply to defer.

But obviously they won't have paid £160million for the debt accounts just to let everybody carry on as before.

I would be very aware of saying or including any information which could be taken as a misrepresentation or omission, as I suspect Erudio will attempt to use any error to declare the agreement in breach, and thus demand full repayment.

mandakl Tue 18-Mar-14 17:34:29

I imagine that would be their tactic yes.

Erudio are actually Arrow Global debt collectors trading under that pseudonym.

Google Arrow Global and you will quickly see what scum of the earth they are and the dirty tactics they use.

emptycoffers Tue 18-Mar-14 17:47:51

Agreed. Erudio have form.

Fundamentally, they know, and knew when they bought the loan debt, that anybody who was rightfully in deferment with SLC would have to be accepted for deferment with Erudio - but that won't make Erudio any money.

They've agreed to buy the debt and administer the loans with no change to terms and conditions - so essentially, any normal person would say, that's money down the drain.

They will undoubtedly push the boundaries of acceptable practice as far as they can, and probably with the silent connivance of the government.

After all, how many debtors in deferral, are going to have the money to take them to task/court, if Erudio play fast and loose with the rules?

That's how I see it panning out - but I do think they will find it hard.

themoneyone Tue 18-Mar-14 17:50:28

I have spent hours on the phone to erudio over the last week trying to pay off my student loan. They are making it nigh on impossible (either incompetent or they want the interest). Beyond stressed, and if anyone has a non-0845 number for them, I'd appreciate it.

LexieSinclair Tue 18-Mar-14 18:22:56

I am just going to declare my own income and child benefit. If DH pays in money for the bills then I could argue that only half of what he pays into the joint account is my income surely?

mrsbug Tue 18-Mar-14 19:33:41

Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks it all sounds a bit suss.

Both dp and my wages go into the joint account, but I don't think they need his wages, just mine.

I did wonder if they wanted the info about whether we are homeowners so that at some point in the future they can argue that x percent of people with deferred loans are homeowners so must have the resources to pay them back.

Think I will leave the extra info requested on the form blank and see what happens.

ContentedSidewinder Tue 18-Mar-14 20:50:57

God, I am glad I am not alone. I am a SAHM and have been for nearly 10 years, I get child benefit into my bank account (this is the account I supply bank statements for to show the child benefit to the old SLC) and I have always provided a letter saying I do have any other money myself and DH supports us but doesn't give me money. Dh also provides SLC with a letter from him saying he doesn't pay me money.

The Eurido form worries me, Dh earns enough to support us both but I don't get "housekeeping" <shudder> I have a credit card in Dh's name and we both use that, he pays it every month.

I am concerned that these are the loophole situations Eurido are looking for, ie a payslip proves you only earn a certain amount and you are below the threshold but my situation like emptycoffers could be misconstrued that I get an income to live on from Dh.

The bank details bit makes me think they would start taking the money before you could dispute you should be in deferment.

mandakl Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:13

Well, fortunately these old style loans are regulated credit agreements.

That means that if Erudio mess us about, refuse deferment without good reason etc, we can take them to the Financial Ombudsman.

Not only will that cost Erudio £550 per case that goes to an adjudicator for a decision, where it is decided that you have been treated unfairly the FOS can issue a legally binding decision on them to put things right.

I would suggest that anyone that has problem puts in a formal recorded complaint to Erudio citing the FOS rules, and then takes it to the FOS if it isn't resolved within the requisite 8 weeks.

sabby1978 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:30

I dont want to make the situation sound was but I have quite literally been pulling my hair out over this today. I too have been completing the deferment form today and was slightly worried where I came to the final section where it asks for your gross monthly income and includes sate benefits in this including housing benefit, child benefit, working and child tax credit.

I contacted them and told me that they consider that they do consider that all of the above benefits form part of gross income. My rent is £1400, I live in London, I get £1000 housing benefit and earn only £900 wages. I tried to argue how could money give to me by the state to pay my rent and childcare be used in their calculation for gross income but they are adamant. Is this really right? If so its going to put me in severe financial hardship.

sad

mrsbug Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:35

That's what worries me about giving the bank details, sidewinder. I don't really want to sign the direct debit agreement but they say if we don't we are in breach of agreement - I wonder if that's correct.?

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of my agreement - keeping copies of important documents wasn't one of my strong points when I was 18!

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