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Erudio Student Loans Continued

(1000 Posts)
halfpricedebt Fri 18-Apr-14 22:53:36

Started a new thread following mrsbug's request.

I got an email from Erudio today telling me that an issue I raised with them on 27 March that was then completely ignored even though they asked for confirmation of my details to process the initial email. I gave them the details they requested and seven days later I still hadn't heard anything. So I wrote them a rather threatening complaint telling them if they didn't respond within 7 days I would report them to the relevant financial services. That was on 3 April and today they've told me that my complaint has been forwarded to their Customer Resolutions Team.

I wonder what they do?

Quirrel Sat 19-Apr-14 03:40:44

Following on - even if they are swamped with emails, they still need to reply to them not replying to one email in over a fortnight, is being obstructive. 9 separate emails and no reply. I have formally complained to them, I don't expect it to go anywhere.

I have considered sending back the form but I am going to see what comes of my dealings with the SLC and the PGCSE option first. I have enough funds to cover a couple of deferment payments if needed, but I am going to fight to have the PGCE Option 2 that I selected several years ago to still be used.

They are welcome to phone me out here, my phone calls to the UK are free, I suspect mobile calls out to this part of the world for them will be pricey

mandakl Sat 19-Apr-14 05:47:35

www.independent.co.uk/money/loans-credit/erudio-student-loans-row-graduates-fear-company-will-pass-on-deferred-loans-details-9270219.html

The row over deferred student loans continued this week as 45,000 former students from the 1990s have been coping with fresh demands for information from Erudio Student Loans, the debt collector that bought the loans from the Government.

Graduates fear the company will pass on details of deferred loans to credit reference agencies, leaving a black mark, although Experian suggests that the move could improve people's ratings.

There have also been accusations that the company has changed the terms and conditions of the loans, although it denies that.

For one Independent reader, it's been a nightmare. She had money taken from her account last week even though her loan is deferred.

When contacted by The Independent, Zachary Lewy, the founder of Erudio's owner, Arrow Global, stepped in. "Erudio has clearly mishandled your case," he said.

To apologise the firm has put £100 in our reader's account, but her fears remain, and she asks: "How many other former students have been unfairly hit by this company taking cash that it shouldn't?"

erudioed Sat 19-Apr-14 08:40:38

that was good little article, Simon Read really is putting the company in the spotlight. I had to post a little comment underneath, i couldnt help myself.
Maybe we need to try and get some other journalists on the case as well. I am surprised the guardian hasnt taken notice yet.

leica Sat 19-Apr-14 08:44:36

I'm really pleased that the i is continuing to cover this story - the more it does that, the more chance there is of getting this unholy mess sorted out.

mandakl Sat 19-Apr-14 10:29:14

Interesting to see that the Fair Processing Note given with the notice of assignment for 1998 onwards loans, threatens to report future deferments to the Credit Reference Agencies whether you sign and return the note or not.

(That is completely separate to the consent they are asking for to report up to date payments made.)

That is in direct breach of the 1998 onwards loan agreements that ONLY allow reporting of the accounts "if you have broken this agreement".

If Erudio report deferment status of those accounts as they threaten without your permission, they will be in breach of the loan T&Cs and in breach of the Data protection Act 1998.

erudioed Sat 19-Apr-14 11:27:16

that is a good note Mandakl. This whole thing about CRAs and how they include it in their literature seems rather smelly. Maybe when our complaints come back in the negative from Erudio, the financial ombudsman will be able to see through their bamboolizing CRA policy and all things related to it in Erudios handouts. After all, i think these things have to be very clear, especially if it concerns signing some rights over by stealth....something i think is negatively looked down on these days by the Ombudsman.
I seem to recall seeing somewhere else that using the threat of reporting someone to a CRA to facilitate payment was also strongly criticised either in court or by some government financial assessor. I cant remember where i read it though, maybe it was here or on the SME forum.
I still dont fully understand why they have to do a check of CRAs as well, it isnt as though they are checking to see whether to give us a loan or not. I dont understand how it can help the deferment process, considering all we have to do is prove we arent earning above a certain amount each month/year.
Doing a credit check wont help that...but i think it will give them more access to personal information about us than SLC cared to gather, just for Erudio's own little files on each and every one of us. Are Erudio indeed allowed to collect such information that will be on the CRAs files? I think that is a rather interesting issue as well. Maybe someone who works in debt collection may know if Debt Collectors like Arrow do indeed collect additional info on those they are chasing (which i think deferers are not because we are just following our T&Cs).
I can understand them using CRAs for those they are tracking down who have gone AWOL but i think we are a little different are we are not?

mandakl Sat 19-Apr-14 11:33:49

Asked someone on MSE to post it up and they've just done so.

forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4951426#

Shows what I mean.

mandakl Sat 19-Apr-14 11:46:06

Now they've posted that up for me there I'll put it here as well.

IchibodT Sat 19-Apr-14 13:31:54

I think they have messed up the wording on that part of their form as they directly contradict themselves in the 2nd part of the underlined paragraph.

We also have emails from BIS which clearly state they cannot share post 98 loans , that may come in handy.

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 13:44:42

Some intriguing information landed with me today.

First, a brief recap. My deferment ended on February 19th. Silly me, slight oversight (it happens with us chef types who work all day and night), never mind. SLC removed the money by direct debit on the February 20th date. I mailed the usual deferment forms to the SLC on the 10th of March, they were received on the 11th, and nothing happened.

On March 21st a direct debit was removed from my account by ESL Ltd (Erudio). At that point I had had no written confirmation that my loans had been sold. Absolutely nothing from Erudio.

Upon finding this amount removed, I called the SLC who informed me that my file would now be with Erudio. Upon calling Erudio, they said they hadn't processed it yet. Waiting was the option.

On the 17th of April, I contacted the SLC again just to confirm that they no longer have anything to do with me. This was confirmed.

I then called Erudio and talked to a chap who sounded less than perky this morning (one suspects they've had to hire a lot more staff in recently). Chap asks me my date of birth three times and makes several mistakes. Confirms that my forms are in limbo and says he will send out a new deferment form that will take 3-5 working days to get there. I inform him that money has already been taken and he has told me that any money taken over the three months from the deferment ending (in my case, from March to June) will be refunded once the deferment has been approved.

Today, Saturday 20th, I checked my bank account online and accessed my direct debits. The SLC DD was listed as cancelled. The ESL DD was listed as active. Being curious, I went to Natwest to discuss the details of when the SLC DD was cancelled and when the ESL was initiated.

SLC direct debit - cancelled 6th March
Erudio direct debit - arranged on 6th March.

From looking at the data, the Natwest clerk (who was superb incidentally, full marks to her) suggested that ESL Ltd has organised for the direct debit to be organised for the 23rd.

Why is this important?

-I have been told by both the SLC and Erudio on the phone that Erudio took over the accounts on the 10th of March. If that is the case, what bloody right do they have to initiate a direct debit before they've taken over the accounts?

-The direct debit Erudio have set up is a new direct debit. It has a new reference code for me. In essence, I have a new company I've never had written contact with setting up a direct debit and taking money that I have not consented to that company taking.

-To date Erudio have still sent me nothing telling me of when they will take money and how much they will take.

-The Natwest clerk thought all of this was very unusual and said categorically that Erudio should have notified me in writing of the amount to be taken and when it was. The SLC has the 20th of each month for my DD to be taken out. If Erudio have changed this date to the 23rd without informing me, then that is wrong.

-The Natwest clerk also told me that if I have any grievances that I can get any DD paid to Erudio refunded by them within one working day.

But wait. It gets more amusing.

Cheered by this good news courtesy of Natwest, I travelled back home with my father. Whilst unloading the car, the postman comes up with a signed for parcel containing yet more guitar electronic noise toys for me and a couple of letters. One instantly hit me as being printed in a manner I'd not seen before.

Erudio! They've finally written to me! But they haven't!

The letter was dated April 10th. It was saying that the deferment form I'd sent to the SLC on March 10th wasn't sufficient and I needed to provide more evidence.

If this was done on April 10th and my deferment form had been received, why did the Erudio representative I talked to on April 17th say that my form hadn't been received and that he would send out a new deferment form? And why does it take so long to send out this letter?

Frankly this whole day is simply more evidence to back my feelings that Erudio are swamped and the systems in place are pisspoor.

IchibodT Sat 19-Apr-14 13:55:17

@^^^^^

I'm not sure how their system works but I'm certain the people on the phones don't know how to work it. After I'd had it confirmed that my forms had been received my next two calls reverted to the old line that my forms hadn't been received. Only when I told them I'd already been informed that my forms had been received could they magically retrieve this information.

mandakl Sat 19-Apr-14 14:23:47

@IchibodT

Most importantly the original loan T&Cs for those 98 and after loans say in crystal clarity that they can only report loans to the CRAs if you break the agreement. BIS and Erudio can say what they like, but if the original terms have not changed then those terms stand whether Erudio likes it or not.

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 15:20:03

@IchibodT.

I'm not sure what system they have there if any. There appears to be a marked discrepancy between information from a phone advisor and what is arriving in the post for some people, myself included. SLC were just as odd in 1999/200 but got so much better after that. For Erudio it seems totally disorganised from the very start.

RubyRue791 Sat 19-Apr-14 16:27:12

Well I stupidly sent the deferment form back thinking I had to to get the deferment, haven't heard back yes or no yet. My loans are from 98 onwards, should I contact them stating I don't consent for my information to be shared with CRAs? I've checked my credit rating and nothing is showing yet. What a mess!

SacreBlue Sat 19-Apr-14 17:01:38

Ibreak I posted on the first thread that SLC sent me confirmation that my deferral was successful then Erudio sent a letter over a week later stating my application didn't contain enough information to even apply for deferment, never mind have it granted.

If you received a similar letter then maybe they are sending 'fishing' letters out to everyone to try and catch more details from anyone who has already filled in the SLC deferral form rather than an Erudio one?

I replied back with a photocopy of the SLC letter and a cover letter telling them since SLC had been happy with that info then so should they <awaits further 'but we need' letter from Erudio>

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 18:17:57

I have spent the afternoon both stuffing Easter eggs into my face (one, to be fair) and delving into the history of the student loans sales. The Honours Student Loans sale interested me especially. As the Honours website states:

"Honours Student Loans manages the administration of student loans for customers of Honours Trustees Ltd in the UK. It has outsourced its Customer Service Helpline and its arrears payment process to Capita for over eight years. We provide customer services & support and debt collection."

Ooooh. Crapita. Lovely. Big call centre in Rotherham. Same area as Erudio aka Honours Trustee 2 Ltd have their postcode.

But you then look over at Leeds and Hepworth House, another big Capita bunker. There's a few jobs available right now. Anyone fancy applying? This is an absolute gem of a job description...

In this role you will take ownership of customer cases that have applied to defer their student loan payment. This will involve managing the application from start to finish, ensuring all information that is provided is truthful and accurate and challenging when required. The majority of this role is admin based therefore attention to detail is key along with the ability to work in a timely manner as it is case ownership.

Then the final killer sentence...

This role also requires a strong, confident communicator who is results focused and has a strong commitment to our client’s service. You’ll thrive on providing an exceptional customer service and your aim will be to provide an experience that customers will want to go away and share with their friends.

www.capitacustomermanagement.co.uk/CAREERS/job-search/job/55/customer-services-advisor-hepworth-house-leeds

I can't speak for you all but I've certainly wanted to share my Erudio experience thus far with people. At first it was my friends, then it was Natwest, maybe the Independent, the Ombudsman, the FCA, Richard Bacon MP, all of the Kardashian Clan...

erudioed Sat 19-Apr-14 18:27:54

@Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection: i recommend contacting simon read at the independent or Paul Lewis, that sounds like a story they could get their teeth into.

There is only so many times you can blame the system Erudio have in place before one conclude it is endemic and their actually Standard Operating Procedure.
How hard is it at Erudio to check someones page on a computer screen to see if they have been deferred or not, before deciding if to authorise a DD payment. Even if it is automated, come on, it isnt hard. I hope everyone who does have a DD debit taken wrongly goes to the trouble of informing Erudio of the breaking of the DD mandate. Then, at the same time, log a formal complaint with Erudio and tell them you seek compensation because they have breached the DD mandate and caused you untold number of hours trouble sorting 'their' mistake out, and if you arent compensated you will be going to the Ombudsman...the Ombudsman will definitely find in your favour if they breached the DD mandate and charge Erudio at least £100 on the spot. It would also make the Ombudsman aware that this is an endemic problem.
You have to phone Erudio anyway, so log a formal complaint at the same time, it is one of the things that is rather painless when you talk to them.

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 18:35:47

@erudioed.

Wednesday 23rd April is now the day I am waiting for. If Erudio take a payment on this day, then it is proven beyond question that they have altered the date of collection of my direct debit from the 20th of each month with the SLC to either the 21st or 23rd without informing me in writing, that they have still failed to inform me in writing that they are the holders of my loans, and that they will have taken an amount with telling me of the amount they are taking. If they take it then I can visit my bank and get it confirmed again by a different branch as to the date that the DD has been organised by Erudio.

I will actually call them on Tuesday morning with one simple question: have you received a deferment form from me? If they say no, I shall giggle and ask them to double check.

In my mind it is simple. They have changed the DD date, not informed me, so have broken their side of the deal. That is then compounded by their inefficiency with everything else.

Crapita by name...

erudioed Sat 19-Apr-14 19:52:07

@Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection: ha, yes, and i am so pleased you have found the connection between Erudio and HSL as compelling as me. No mention anywhere in the press they have already been doing this before. And now the Capita link...

That was a great find about Capita. Interestingly the phone from abroad phone number for Erudio is 0113, a Leeds number. So, to be clear, Erudio has actually outsourced the deferment department to Capita. The erudio full number is actually located in Dewsbury, right where Capita is recruiting for.
So we are not actually dealing with Erudio, they have just paid someone else to put the squeeze on us. And with what you have found out about the job role being advertised, this smells so bad, it is even worse than i imagined. Lets hope all those you have contacted find out about this, especially Simon Read, he might be very interested. Because when the press say Erudio says, are we even certain Erudio are even contactable, certainly their director Filer never goes on record and is pretty much invisible.

I ask if Erudio actually exists but on paper?

Check out The Wilmington Trust and Mark Howard Filer as well (our beloved leader, and director/executive of over 200 companies, including Wilmington Trust UK, His 200 odd companies show many with just slightly different names like Honours Trustee Limited and Honours Trustee 2 Limited. As well as a couple in Jersey).

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 21:57:36

@erudioed

I love the Internet. Already two of the first four returns for (Erudio Student Loans) take you here and to MSE.

It really is quite amazing that nobody in the press made the Honours/Erudio connect. 5 minutes on Duedil is all it took for me today (mostly because I didn't read all of the old thread that stated the Honours/Erudio link). Two minutes on HSL gave up the info that they were outsourcing their admin to Crapita. A brief flick on the Crapita website throws up some job offers and ultimately the link I put above.

Private Eye has had much on shell companies in recent months. Something about HSL and Erudio strikes me as being similar.

Reading about Arrow Global going on the markets throws up some real heavy hitters backing them:

Goldman Sachs acted as Global Co-ordinator, Sponsor and Joint Bookrunner in the Offer and Jefferies International Limited acted as Joint Bookrunner. Canaccord Genuity Limited and Numis Securities Limited acted as Co-Lead Managers. Lazard & Co., Limited acted as Financial Adviser to the Company. College Hill acted as financial public relations adviser to the Group.

www.londonstockexchange.com/companies-and-advisors/news-events/welcome/arrowglobal.htm

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 21:59:56

Oh, and a question for anyone who might know. On the SLC website it says this:

*Who are Erudio Student Loans Ltd?
Erudio Student Loans Ltd was established in 2013 to purchase a portfolio of student loans from the UK Government.

Erudio Student Loans Ltd is regulated by the same governing bodies as SLC.

For queries on any of your loans that have been transferred, contact Erudio Student Loans Ltd directly on 0845 217 1134 or visit their website at www.erudiostudentloans.co.uk*

What governing bodies are these? Erudio says on their site:

They have experience of managing Student Loan Company customer loan accounts and are regulated by the same governing bodies as the Student Loan Company.

As they state that they have experience of managing SLC loan accounts, that confirms that Erudio and HSL are one and the same for me.

ContentedSidewinder Sat 19-Apr-14 22:01:14

I have had a letter of confirmation of my deferment

I am a SAHM so filled in their form (I know I know) and returned it on 20th March with a copy of my bank statement showing child benefit, a letter from me stating I do not work and one from DH stating that we live off his wage alone and he does not provide me with more than the minimum amount.

In their deferment letter it states

"Please be aware that any Direct Debits you have in place will not be collected during this deferment period. However, you should note that you are still required to keep any Direct Debits in place while there is still a balance owing on your account. Failure to do this will constitute a breach of your agreement.

Please be aware that Eurido reserves the right to request further information and/or verify the information in support of your application for deferment. If it appears you knowingly or recklessly gave false information, criminal proceedings may be instigated against you. Omissions or mis-statements may also result in civil proceedings against you"

Just thought everyone would want to see a successful deferment.

My first loan was taken out in 1992 so I am close to write off stage.

Ibreakwindinerudiosdirection Sat 19-Apr-14 22:10:27

@contendersidewinder.

I'm glad that someone has it. You said you sent it off on March 20th. When did you get the confirmation returned to you and what date was on the letter?

erudioed Sat 19-Apr-14 22:25:25

on the arrow global front, if you go up the chain historically, you find Sallie Mae.
Here are some highlights from Wikipedia:

*On September 17, 2010, it was announced that Sallie Mae will acquire federally insured loans from Citigroup-owned Student Loan Corporation worth $28 billion.

On Feb 25, 2014, Sallie Mae announced the new name for the student loan side which will be called "Navient".*

and

*A False Claims suit was filed against Sallie Mae by former U.S. Department of Education researcher, Dr. Oberg. The suit alleges that Sallie Mae and other lenders deliberately overcharged the U.S. government. The findings by Oberg were labeled among higher education policy analysts as the 9.5 scandal.

On February 20, 2014 Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office announced that an investigation into Sallie Mae's debt collection practices and loan servicing practices had been opened.*

and very relevant to us, you couldnt write it:

On October 10, 2007, documents surfaced showing that Sallie Mae was attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to force colleges to turn over students' personal information. The university involved, the State University of New York system, is expected to decline the request and be forced to defend its position in court.

Now according to Arrow Global's website:
Arrow Global (the Group) was established in 2005 as the European subsidiary of Arrow Financial Services, a leading US debt purchaser that was founded in 1961 and was subsequently acquired by Sallie Mae in 2004. In 2009 the Group's holding company was purchased by the RBS Special Opportunities Fund. In October 2013, Arrow Global Group PLC successfully completed an initial public offering, marking the Group's admission to the premium listing segment of the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange.

followed by this, which is interesting when you consider what Sallie Mae has been accused of in its recent past:
We combine a successful operating model pioneered in the US with local knowledge of the UK and European markets. The result is an innovative and flexible debt purchasing platform, which enables us to create bespoke solutions for both customers and creditors.

One wonders if that echoes what Sallie Mae taught them:
On October 10, 2007, documents surfaced showing that Sallie Mae was attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to force colleges to turn over students' personal information.

But after all, remembering we are not yet where they are in the US with local sherrif's paid for by student debt collectors to kick the door down of defaulters and shove weapons in their faces (i kid you not), one ponders whether their are more ways that putting the squeeze on universities to get hold of that all important personal information, such as voluntary ways by their customers (you and me), or giving them permission to access CRAs and hoover up all the free stuff on record. The point being, this going after personal information is not in any way unique to Erudio, nor does it seem particularly legal unless they have permission...

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