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Erudio Student Loans Continued part 3

(677 Posts)
erudioed Fri 30-May-14 22:46:18

I dont know if this is the right way to do it and i apologise if it isn't but this is the continuation of www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_money_matters/a2057131-Erudio-Student-Loans-Continued

minimoosh Sat 31-May-14 00:33:27

@ erudioed, seems a perfectly good way to go about it smile

Maybe the FOS (does anyone else ever think of the Fonz when they read that?) need to up their game?

www.cisas.org.uk/CISASAdjudicators-10_e.html

Anyhoo, in the spirit of beating Erudio...

@ waitingforgoddot
Might be an idea to write to Erudio as soon as you can, to tell them you don't accept their final response and you're taking it to the FONZ. But also tell them that because the account is still in dispute, they must cease all collection activity immediately - the guidance I read states that they must do this until a dispute is resolved:

Financial Conduct Authority - See 7.5.3 & 7.14.1 here:

fshandbook.info/FS/html/FCA/CONC/7

Credit Services Association - page 11/26

www.csa-uk.com/media/editor/file/Code_of_practice_final%20110414.pdf

You can fit your response around e.g. the FCA rules - "You have not provided clear justification or evidence as to why my claim is not valid" and/or "Despite your final response, I believe that the grounds for my complaint are still valid"

This is the blurb I put in my complaint letter, if it helps:

In accordance with the requirements of the the Financial Conduct Authority and the Credit Services Association, Erudio will cease all collection activity (including, but not limited to, demands for repayment) on the loan accounts whilst Erudio (or the Financial Ombudsman Service if necessary) investigates my complaint.

Better to email, rather than snail mail, because they're due to take payment so soon. Get a 'read' receipt for the email if you can - for anyone with a Hotmail or Gmail account (maybe others, but my Yahoo account doesn't work), you can get this by signing in to your email account via Windows Live Mail on your PC, hold down the Alt key and press F,O,M, click the Receipts tab and tick Request a read receipt for all sent messages.

Erudio's acknowledgement to my complaint said the account's on hold until they give their final response, not quite what I asked for, but will email them again to try and get them to confirm it's on hold until FOS decide on it, in the unlikely event I disagree with their final response ;-)

For anyone waiting for Erudio's final response, there's nothing to stop you doing the same, use the FCA/CSA rules and try to get confirmation of this before the final response, so they can't hit you with an immediate default when they say no to your complaint. I haven't looked into this, but I don't think they can say your account's immediately in default? They might claim repayments are due, but they then have to send a reminder, a reminder of the reminder, a notice of arrears, a threat of default, whatever the procedure is, before they can claim the account's in default?

Better to email, rather than snail mail, because they're due to take payment so soon. Get a 'read' receipt for the email if you can - for anyone with a Hotmail or Gmail account (maybe others, but my Yahoo account doesn't work), you can get this by signing in to your email account via Windows Live Mail on your PC, hold down the Alt key and press F,O,M, click the Receipts tab and tick Request a read receipt for all sent messages.

LittleMissGreen Sat 31-May-14 10:51:41

marking place in new thread smile

giljnr Sat 31-May-14 11:17:52

Success!

Further to my last post (at the end of the 2nd thread) I received a phone-call about 6pm last night from Erudio.

It would seem my threats of civil action if they did not proceed to defer my loan, based on the financial information I had chosen to give them, and legally entitled to under The Education (Student Loans) Act, has had an effect!

I was informed that "Your deferment will now be getting pushed through as fast as we can". I demanded to know whether the call was being recorded "Yes" came the answer.

Followed by getting the caller to confirm Yes/No whether the documentary evidence provided, has been accepted for the basis to give deferment. "Yes". Did they agree that the application should have been processed as received originally, in April? "Yes". Could they confirm that a letter, dated 30 May 2014, would be sent confirming deferment, with the date 'rolled back' to the date the application was originally received. "Yes"

And the punchline.. That as they had clearly stated, in a recorded telephone call, that they should have processed my application as originally received, and had verbally confirmed a successful deferment had been made on the basis of that original information, that this could now be used as evidence against them, should I incur any loss or damage as a result of their actions "..*gulp*.."

So in a nutshell, I have my deferment, and put these tw@ts in their place smile

erudioed Sat 31-May-14 13:36:32

what info did/didnt you provide exactly because that is the standard we all need to know...oh, and well done on sticking to your guns and getting it all through!

emptycoffers Sat 31-May-14 13:55:32

I'm sure others have seen this already, but SLC have posted copies of SLC loan contracts on their FOI website section in response to some good person asking the right question:

www.slc.co.uk/freedom-of-information/freedom-of-information-disclosures.aspx#May

emptycoffers Sat 31-May-14 14:05:46

also - I know someone who has put in a request for the original marketing material/publicity.

May be SLC or may be govt dept - will see how that goes

with view to clarity/tone/meaning of original t&cs

simonpimpernel Sat 31-May-14 14:37:09

@waitingforgodot - Your account should stay frozen for eight weeks OR UNTIL YOU RECIEVE A FINAL REPLY TO YOUR COMPLAINT. If you have received a final reply before the eight weeks is up they can unfreeze your account again AFAIK.

Also note that when Erudio say they will freeze your account they mean they will freeze COLLECTION ACTIVITY on your account... they don't actually freeze deadlines etc so if your deferment is due to end for example on 01/06/14 then it'll still end then... the only difference is they won't take money from you until your account is unfrozen. At least that is how they explained it to me.

simonpimpernel Sat 31-May-14 14:58:59

@giljnr

What information did you give them and in what format? Did you sign their form?

minimoosh Sat 31-May-14 15:29:12

Looking at the FCA handbook again, I think waitingforgoddot would need to tell Erudio that s/he is disputing the debt, as the amount of the debt being pursued is incorrect, i.e. should be zero until the deferment application is processed. That way, collection activity has to stop until the deferment's been granted. The CSA say it recovery activity should cease until any complaint or dispute is resolved.

Copy in the FCA (consumer.queries@fca.org.uk) to the email - if everyone else in this situation does the same, it makes the FCA aware of what's going on and they might decide to step in.

The CSA won't comment or act on complaints made via phone or email - there's a complaints form here that must be completed, but tell Erudio in your email that you've made a formal complaint to the CSA:

www.csaconsumers-uk.com/page/i-have-a-complaint

If anyone has had a DD taken in error, that's another breach of the FCA rules so let the FCA know! see 7.6.1 here:

fshandbook.info/FS/html/FCA/CONC/7/6

If Erudio haven't provided you with your copy agreements - let the FCA know! Do this by emailing Erudio and copying the FCA in, so Erudio know about it.

fshandbook.info/FS/html/FCA/CONC/13/1

We have to start fighting back against Erudio, otherwise NOTHING will change and they'll merrily continue to take the piss.

erudioed Sat 31-May-14 16:12:32

i fully concur with minimoosh, we have to keep following through with our own gripes otherwise it will get worse every year! If just one of us in on the right path it will make all the difference to us all.

waitingforgoddot Sat 31-May-14 21:03:35

that is very useful thank you. I was screwed from the start because my deferral was up on the 9th of March. I filled out my SLC form and sent it back in Feb and I didn't receive my first letter from Erudo until mid March (I had never heard of them and thought it was a scam at first) and only recieved notice that my loan had been sold on the 27th of March. So I was totally disadvantaged and this is what I will be saying to the ombudsman. If a company I have never heard of suddenly start asking for large amounts of [personal information then it is completely reasonable of me to find out firstly who they are and secondly if they have a legal right to do this. I am being penalised simply because of where my deferment date fell.

StAndrewsbythesea Sat 31-May-14 21:30:46

I, for one, will be interested in original marketing material. I remember when I took out a loan, we were all told that:

i) You were eligible for a loan no matter how bad your credit history
ii) Taking out a student loan would not impact your credit rating.

Both i) and ii) were seen as important pillars of the system at the time since widening access was the whole purpose of student loans. If it were not for ii) a lot of people would have been put off from taking these large (at least it seemed large as an 18 year old undergraduate) loans and going to University.

giljnr Sat 31-May-14 22:41:07

[quote]erudioed Sat 31-May-14 13:36:32
what info did/didnt you provide exactly because that is the standard we all need to know...oh, and well done on sticking to your guns and getting it all through![/quote]

[quote]simonpimpernel Sat 31-May-14 14:58:59
@giljnr
What information did you give them and in what format? Did you sign their form?[/quote]

I completed & signed the form, crossed out the offending CRA notification parts with an 'I do NOT consent' notice in the margins where applicable, along with a formal letter stating the same, and gave them copies of my SA302 Tax return & Small Earnings Exemptions Certificate, as my business paid me less than £5750 in the last tax-year. I also receive WTC (into a dedicated account for that purpose) and gave a very heavily redacted copy of the most recent statement. No account number or sort code, no dates, no statement starting or end balance, and no details of the account it is routinely transferred to on receipt of payment. It simply shows payments of 'Working Tax Credit @ £52.72'.

I argued that as HMRC had granted me NI exemption on the basis of my earnings, shown in both the SA302 Tax Return and Small Earnings Exemption, It could be shown, beyond all reasonable doubt, that my income was below the threshold of £2,398 per month, and that if they continued to refuse to defer my account, I would hold them in breach of the Education (Student Loans) Act - Right of Deferment, and challenge them in a Civil Court action.

They folded and verbally confirmed (call recorded) that deferment would be made.

Something I would suggest for next year's battle: As Erudio have access to CRA files, all Current Accounts are listed in those files, and show monthly report ending balances. If you were to shift all your account -receivables into Instant Saver Accounts (non-Consumer Credit Act (1974) regulated) then nothing would show on your credit file. Simply use your Current Account as a payment transfer account to pay bills such as Credit Cards, loans, rent/mortgage etc per month but keep all your earnings & savings below the radar, in separate Instant Savers, preferrably with a different bank to your Current Account ;)

HTH.

giljnr Sat 31-May-14 22:53:21

I will also add this bit of information, concerning Direct Debits.

You can cancel a DD at anytime, and you will NOT be in breach of your agreement. As long as you inform the originator (Erudio) that you will be paying by another method, such as Standing Order, that will be accepted in a legal challenge.

If you have completed a written DD mandate to Erudio and since cancelled it, it will not guarantee that payments will not be taken. This is because each DD instuction has a unique refernce number. When you cancel, you are simply cancelling that reference, but the mandate remains 'live', and much like the way the PayDay loan companies used to snatch money from customers, when I worked for a well-known Spanish high-street bank by resubmitting the payment mandate but with a different reference number, Erudio could well do the same to claim payment.

The only way around this is to contact your bank and to ask them to put a block all Direct Debit claims from a specific originator (Erudio). Until you instruct your bank to lift that block, no money can ever be claimed on that mandate.

HTH

giljnr Sat 31-May-14 22:59:21

@Minimoosh
I haven't looked into this, but I don't think they can say your account's immediately in default? They might claim repayments are due, but they then have to send a reminder, a reminder of the reminder, a notice of arrears, a threat of default, whatever the procedure is, before they can claim the account's in default?

For an account governed under the Consumer Credit Act (1974) you must be sent a NOSIA (Notice Of Sums In Arrears) notice before any action can be taken. The NOSIA will also state a maximum time frame to bring the account back into an agreed limit, before any legal action can commence. If that does not happen, A NODS (Notice of Default Sums) is issued, and the nightmare begins

minimoosh Sun 01-Jun-14 00:27:46

@ giljnr Thanks for the info on the arrears process, suggests that it would take some time before Erudio could claim an account's in default? We could play Erudio at their own game and stall as long as possible - get the deferment application in early, then a complaint on the DD/DPA a couple of weeks before deferment ends would buy up to another 8 weeks. If deferment's still not through by then and Erudio makes a demand for repayment, put the account in dispute under the FCA rules (also means no payments can be taken). If Erudio hadn't processed the deferment by then, that's another grounds for complaint, and repayments are on hold again, and all of that's before they go through the arrears process... there's only so long they can hold back on granting the deferment! Erudio are probably banking on most people giving up well before then.

On the CRA checks - Like your thinking, but I checked my credit file before sending off my deferment application and the only info it showed for my 2 current accounts was the balance of the overdraft facility, both unused, so basically the overdraft limit - no details on the account balances?

minimoosh Sun 01-Jun-14 00:59:21

@ StAndrewsbythesea I'd be interested in seeing the original information leaflets too, is that something that could be requested under FOI?

After reading your post, I googled for the leaflets (sad, I know), didn't find them, but did see this re DPA, from a Commons debate on the SLC, way back in Feb 1990, from the then Higher Education Minister, it's near the end of the page on this link:

hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1990/feb/15/the-student-loans-company#column_455

"The Student Loans Company, whether in or out of public ownership, will be subject to the Data Protection Act in the same way as all similar operations and enterprises. The Act—which was passed under the present Government—provides valuable protection for the individual, while recognising the need for controlled exchange in the use of personal data. The Goverment are wholly committed to the enforcement of the Act through the Office of the Data Protection Registrar.

Borrowers will be given the same protection as they would receive if they had borrowed from a commercial lender. All the people concerned will have bank accounts, which will be treated in exactly the same way as accounts with the Student Loans Company. The company, like other commercial operators, can hold personal data only if those data are registered under the Act, and can use them only for the registered purposes. The data may not be disclosed without the authority of the individual to whom the information relates, as with normal commercial 471 banking operations. Furthermore, under the Data Protection Act the individual is entitled to receive a copy of any data relating to him held by a data user, on payment of a reasonable fee. Those protections will apply irrespective of who owns the Student Loans Company".

Erudio are relying on a clause that states any disclosure has to meet the requirements of the DPA - so privacy notice/FPN, significant change in use of data, consent from the individual, justification for disclosing the info... I don't see how they can prove they've complied with those requirements (unless, of course, we consent to their FPN).

giljnr Sun 01-Jun-14 01:03:36

@Minimoosh

If you have provided all the information required that would satisfy a court beyond all reasonable doubt that your income is below the threshold for repayment, then you have every grounds to challenge a refusal of deferment in the Civil Court under the Education (Student Loans) Act.

Forget trying to push it back as far as you can in stages. If you have provided documentation to demonstrate you are below that £2,398 per month limit, and your application is refused and no further negotiation with Erudio gets anywhere, head straight to the small claims court and file a claim against them for breach of contract.

If you formally dispute the reason for refusal to defer, and it is not accepted and payment taken, despite your income being below the threshold, Erudio would very likely end up being in serious shite.

The quickest way to resolve this is by phone. The first thing to do, with whomever you speak to, or if transferred between their departments or agents is say "Is this call being recorded? If so, I wish to have a copy for evidence purposes". This immediately gets their attention that whatever they say may be used against them (read: sack them) and demonstrates that you mean business.

The trick is to use your voice clearly & assertively, and stick to the legal facts. As long as you have demonstrated your income truthfully, regardless of what format of documentary evidence you provide, if you are below the threshold and are refused deferment, you have the right to take the matter further, and the last thing Erudio will want, is media exposure of losing Civil Court cases against debtors as that will then make them appear weak for others to follow.

minimoosh Sun 01-Jun-14 01:52:40

@ giljnr Re DD's - Any reasonable company would accept a payment by another means. The argument Erudio are making is that we can't cancel the DD, because it's a requirement of the loan agreement, even during deferment. They've added a statement to the DD mandate that not maintaining a DD during deferment will be a breach of the agreement, an attempt to introduce a new term. All references to a DD in the original agreement and the legislation state that repayments will be made by DD, nothing about having a DD during deferment. The upshot of all that is Erudio will say you've breached the loan agreement by not having a DD in place, which of course is a load of shite, but it's all part of their plan to wear us down (and more importantly for them, claim we've breached the terms). It's a hard slog taking Erudio on, they know what they're doing, it's whether we have the time and/or inclination to fight them about it - they obviously hope most don't.

minimoosh Sun 01-Jun-14 02:23:25

@ giljnr No-one on the sharp end of Erudio's tactics wants it to reach the stage of civil proceedings, even if they believe their case is solid, because they don't want their credit rating trashed. Erudio are using that to their own advantage.

erudito Sun 01-Jun-14 14:27:12

Hey all. Glad to catch up on round 3 of the Erudio fiasco. Don't be put off taking Erudio to court. I am planning to do so and now bunkered down for the long game. Also, planning on making a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman about the shocking way we have all been treated by the Dept of BIS. They have lied and covered up their total incompetence. Btw. Direct Debit instructions are automatically cancelled after a year by banks if no monies are collected. KEEP STONG smile

midnightfrank Sun 01-Jun-14 16:39:02

They received my application on April 16th - signed form + SA302 from 2013 + bank statements - and I've not heard from them at all. Deferment period ended a week or so ago. No money taken.

Too busy incompetently dealing with you guys, I imagine!

If you are ever late in applying for deferment - in future I will send the most up to date SA302 as that will better reflect my income but will mean delay as I wait for HMRC - do you lose any money that's taken in the meantime or can you claim it back?

erudito Sun 01-Jun-14 17:54:26

Hi Midnight Frank. If you are late returning the deferment form and your payments become due, then you would have to pay up until the deferment was processed. If I was waiting for more up to date paperwork, then I would just send the most recent info that is available at the time as you did with your 2013 SA302. I would hope that all is well with your account now as your deferment was received by them way back on April 16th. However - with in excess of 2000 posts on Mumsnet alone about Erudio's appaling customer service - then it may be worthwhile calling them and confirming that all is in order and that you are successfully defered.

erudito Sun 01-Jun-14 18:05:27

Oops. Sorry Frank. No. You would not be able to claim back payments made if Erudio don't have your deferment form or if you have not given them up to the 28 days they say they need to process the forms.

If they delay processing your deferment for more than 28 days after they receive the form then I would expect you to be able to complain and claim back any monies taken. Erudio would probably come out with more lies and excuses and try to get out of making a refund. But just claim it back under the DD guarantee and let the bank deal with them.

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