Consumer Watch: Most common student loan complaints

Student loan complaints can be reported, but don't always end with desired results. (file)

A look at complaints from student loan borrowers in Oklahoma shows most of the issues centering around the most urban areas, but even people in rural Oklahoma are reporting problems with their lenders, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The number of complaints keeps going up year to year with five specific problems that were the most common last year. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigates complaints, but that doesn't mean there will be a resolution you like.

The CFPB says it's handled more than one million consumer complaints nationally, and that's just since April 2017 with about 10 percent of those complaints related to student loans. In Oklahoma last year, there were 390 student loan complaints. That’s a spike of 72-percent compared to the year before.

Here are the top five complaints on federal loans:

1. Payments mishandled.

2. Consumer given bad information by a representative of the lender.

3. Problems reducing payments.

4. Problems getting flexible repayments.

5. Issues with extra fees charged to their account.

The vast majority of complaint investigations, 94 percent, were closed with an explanation, but only 5.5 percent were closed with monetary or non-monetary relief.

If you are having problems with student loans, it is still important to report issues to the CFPB, but it is also important to protect yourself. If you are having trouble making your payments, you can check if you qualify for one of many changes to repayment options, like income driven plans. Changing loan terms to a payment you can afford will keep your loan out of default.

If you are having trouble paying your loans or are in default, you could be targeted by scammers according to the CFPB. Some of their red flags include the promise of fast loan forgiveness and requests to pay a fee upfront for help. Scammers can fake government seals, so be sure never share your FSA ID with anyone.

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