My credit report reflects a charge off on my student loan, but I continue to receive calls from a collection agency; am I still responsible for paying on this loan?
My Sallie Mae student loan shows a charge off on the account on my credit report. I haven't made a payment since 2010. The loan is now with a collection agency that calls me, although they've never sent any notices by mail. Do I still need to pay on this loan? If yes, how can I verify the collection agency?
A charge-off is simply the lender saying that the debt being written off as uncollectable. This is done by the lender for accounting purposes. However, the debt is still legally valid and remains valid after the lender has completed the charge-off, so you are still technically on the hook for the missed payments and the collection agency is likely to continue calling you until it is paid. Having a charge-off on your credit report is one of the most adverse factors that can be listed on your report and make it very difficult for you to secure any loans or credit cards in the future. If you want to repair your credit, getting this charge-off taken care of will be a necessity. Also, depending on how much you owe on the loan, the collection agency could take you to small claims court in order to force you to pay. I'd be trying to get this squared away as soon as possible. In order to verify with the credit agency, just have them send you a bill or statement.
Yes, you are still responsible for repaying the loan. The creditor's decision to write the loan off of their books doesn't eliminate your obligation on the note you signed. I would recommend asking the collection agency to document their ownership of the debt to make sure you're dealing with a legit collector.
The collection agency probably bought the debt for a large discount. I'd recommend saving up an amount of money and making an offer to settle the debt in full. Start at 25% of the amount owed; they may be willing to accept something that low! Get the agreement IN WRITING before making the payment! A few other settlement tips can be found HERE.
Settling the debt is important to eventually repairing your credit report/score. I'd recommend trying to resolve the issue with them.
Best of luck!
You might be target of a scam. I would suggest calling the collect agency and ask them to send you information on your loan. Also, a google search could show if there is a scam out there from the agency.
Kimberly J. Howard, CFP