If you suspect your student loan servicer is charging you unfair fees, failing to allocate your payments the right way or engaging in deceptive practices, you may need to know how to submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The CFPB is a government agency that protects consumers of financial products and services — everything from student loans and mortgages to credit reporting and debt collection. You can submit consumer complaints about your student loans and the CFPB may be able to help resolve your issue.
Here’s how to submit a complaint to the CFPB if you’re having problems with your student loan servicer:
- How to submit a complaint to the CFPB
- Examples of complaints from the database
- How the CFPB uses your complaint information
- Other ways the CFPB helps student loan borrowers
- More ways to contact the CFPB
Here are 10 steps to submitting your complaint:
1. Try to resolve the issue with your loan servicer first
2. Gather supporting documents
3. Go to ConsumerFinance.gov/complaint
4. Select ‘student loan’ from the list of options
5. Select ‘federal student loan’ or ‘private student loan’
6. Describe what happened
7. Indicate if you want your story included in the CFPB Database
8. Follow the rest of the submission process as instructed
9. Wait up to 15 days for a response
10. Review the response from your loan servicer
Before submitting a complaint, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expects you to try and resolve the issue directly with your loan servicer. Only when it is clear to you that no resolution can be found should you bring in the CFPB to help resolve the matter.
The CFPB encourages you to include third-party supporting documents with your complaint, such as billing statements, contracts, letters and receipts.
3. Go to ConsumerFinance.gov/complaint
This is the official website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where you’ll file your complaint.
You’ll find this among eight other options under “Choose the product or service that best matches your complaint.” As you’ll see, student loans are one of many financial products and services for which the CFPB accepts complaints.
Indicate what type of student loan your servicer is responsible for handling.
The CFPB wants to hear your side of the story. What they do not want you to include in this section is any personally-identifying information (e.g., your name, account number, contact information or Social Security number) at this stage.
Once you’ve described what happened, you’ll have the option of choosing whether you want your story included in the Consumer Complaint Database – a public database that anyone can view.
If you’re not sure whether to make it public, keep in mind your story could be helpful to another borrower who is having a similar issue.
Of course, even if you decline to have your description of the situation made public, the details of your complaint may still be included in the database, minus any personal details. This includes basic information, such as:
- Date you submitted the complaint
- Product type (student loan)
- Sub-product (federal student loan)
- Issue (dealing with my lender or servicer)
- Description (if you elected to include it)
- Name and location of your servicer
- Their response to your complaint
- Whether you disputed the response or not
Browse through the database to see for yourself.
- Describe your desired solution
- Provide requested personal information
- Provide requested product information
- Review your submission
- Submit the complaint
Upon receipt of your complaint, the CFPB will forward it and any supporting documents, to your loan servicer for review. Your servicer generally has up to 15 days to respond.
During this 15-day waiting period, you can expect to receive email updates from the CFPB. However, you are also free to login to the website as often as you like to check on the status of your complaint.
Another possibility is that, upon reviewing your complaint, the CFPB determines another government agency is better-suited to assist you. In that case, they will let you know they have forwarded your information to another agency for review.
Best case scenario, you’re thrilled with the response, which outlines the steps your loan servicer plans to take to resolve the issue to your satisfaction. Worst case scenario, you’re disappointed in the response, in which case you can submit a new complaint with the CFPB.
When you select your issue – “Dealing with my lender or servicer” – you’ll have the option of selecting from one of the following sub-issues:
- Trouble with how payments are handled
- Don’t agree with fees charged
- Received bad information about my loan
- Need information about my balance/terms
- Keep getting calls about my loan
- Having problems with customer servicer
If you don’t see your sub-issue listed, it may be that the problem you are having is not actually specific to your loan servicer, but a different issue entirely, like “Getting a loan” or “Can’t repay my loan.”
Note that if your issue is financial aid eligibility or receiving your money for your federal student loan, the CFPB may ask you to direct your complaint to the U.S. Department of Education.
Besides forwarding your complaint to your loan servicer and including some of your complaint information in the Consumer Complaint Database, the CFPB also:
- Shares complaints with state, federal and law enforcement officials
- Sends complaint reports to Congress
- Analyzes complaint data to better enforce rules and write new ones
Besides accepting complaints, the CFPB:
- Educates borrowers on student loan options
- Provides an online tool to help borrowers compare financial aid offers
- Regulates the student loan industry, including oversight of predatory lending practices, payment processing issues, service member rights and affordability of private student loans
In addition to the webpage listed above , the CFPB also has a direct line for consumers to call with questions.
If you have any problems during the complaint process, do not hesitate to call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 855-411-2372 (411-CFPB) any weekday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. If you use a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) or text telephone, dial (855) 729-CFPB.
And if you just can’t continue with your student loan servicer, here are some ways to get rid of them.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.74% – 6.52%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.89%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.74% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.86% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.13% – 5.25%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of January 19, 2022.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.69% APR to 6.04% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.99% APR to 5.89% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, and using the daily interest rate based on actual days in the year and rounding up, plus a margin and will change on the 1st of each month. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 2.49% APR to 7.59% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 7.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 11/15/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
7 Important Disclosures for Navient.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.