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Copy of a complaint to BRE re Student Loans Company


daveydavey
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Title:

Supervise the Student Loan Company deferment process

Department Responsible:

Department for Education & Skills

Problem Description:

I have problems with the SLC every year regarding the deferment process. It started in 2000 when I had an income of just £14000, well below the threshold to make repayments. I returned my deferment forms as requested. After a few months they wrote to me informing me that as I had not deferred they would be taking money from my bank account. I contacted them immediately to inform them of my income and that I had in fact returned my deferment forms, but they said I had to pay 2 payments of approx. £40 each.

 

Since then they have continuously applied £25 admin charges onto my account as they say I am in arrears. I have so far paid more than £300 in charges to the SLC, and yet they say I still own more than £300 in charges, on top of the initial 2 £40 payments I missed.

 

Every year I return my deferment form by recorded delivery to ensure this problem does not happen again.

 

This year I am a stay at home mum, with no benefits or income of my own except Child Benefit. I returned my deferment forms by recorded delivery, as usual, for which I have a receipt.

 

But, even though I have proof they received the forms in July, the SLC are saying I have not deferred and I must make 2 monthly payments of £40. They have now started taking money out of my account, which inturn has taken me overdrawn and therefore incurred bank charges of £30 a time.

 

It seems to be company policy to lose deferment forms so they can make money from low income families such as mine. There is no financial gain for them to process the forms correctly, instead they benefit from maladministration.

 

My aggreement with them was that I would repay my loan once I reached a certain income level, and yet they are flouting this agreement. They are now threatening me with a default notice for non payment of my monthly installments - even though I am not liable to make them.

 

Proposed solution:

I think the process of deferment should be regulated or supervised in some way. Having searched the internet, and in particular the CAG website, I have discovered that there are many hundreds of people with the same problem as me every year. Surely this shows they are incapable of administering their own system correctly.

 

I think they shoud be looked into and their system of deferment should be supervised closely by an independant body.

Cost or time incurred:

My orginisation (my family) would have saved approx. £200 a year in the illegal charges imposed upon me by the SLC.

Department:

Department for Education & Skills

Category(s):

Unknown

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Supervise the Student Loan Company deferment process

 

 

There is no advantage for SLC to lose deferment applications. It is counterproductive to chase arrears or administration charges from borrowers not currently in a position to make repayments.

 

*** Undoubtedly the deferment process can be difficult all round, but SLC is obliged to comply with the government regulations for this provision.***

Given the large volume of forms dependent upon the postal system, it is unfortunately not surprising that some go astray and that some misunderstandings occur on both sides. DIUS is, however, working with the Student Loan Company to review procedures and gradually to implement process improvements, wherever possible.

 

Meanwhile, if borrowers have evidence that SLC received application forms and income evidence in a timely fashion, they may send the evidence to SLC, You might copy the recorded delivery receipts to them - if you still hold them/if you haven't already done so. If you cannot receive satisfaction in this way, you might also want to consider making a formal complaint to SLC's Complaints Department - so long as you are sure that you had provided all that was required in a timely fashion and that the onus was upon SLC to process your deferment. You might wish to note that in appropriate circumstances, SLC is permitted to backdate deferments for periods of up to three months. If your position is proved to be justified, you might want also to consider asking SLC to withdraw charges from your account.

 

If you do complain but remain dissatisfied, you are at liberty to ask SLC to refer your case to the Independent Assessor for review.

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