Thumbs Down: Sallie Mae

July 25, 2007 psipsina

About two months ago, Sallie Mae bought my student loan.  Ever since then, I’ve been subjected to a non-stop stream of e-mail and postal solicitations from them.

I started out merely kind of frustrated by this, because the previous owner of the loan did not spam me every two or three days with solicitations to buy a mortgage, consolidate my loans, or try brand new Sallie Mae brand animal crackers (now with more leopards!).  But that initial frustration was nothing compared to what followed.

I clicked on the link in the e-mail saying I didn’t want solicitations.  Two days later, they offered me a mortgage.  I clicked on that link, and three days later, they offered me a loan consolidation.  A week later, a solicitation arrived by mail, followed soon after by another e-mail.  I went online and sent an e-mail to their customer service department, and got back some canned response saying that they couldn’t help me because they couldn’t find my account information.

After about 4 rounds of e-mail in which I asked them why my e-mail address was not enough to get me off an e-mail list, and they sent back the same canned response, I gave up.

Then I got home Monday night and found another solicitation in my mail slot.

I called them and got an oral version of the same canned response, that I’m not showing up in their system.  I asked several times how it could be that I’m not showing up in their system, yet they manage to find me two to three times a week to spam me, but the customer service rep had no answers.  Finally, she put me on hold and came back a few minutes later saying she could in fact take me off the list.  She also told me it would take effect immediately.

Today I got an e-mail offering me a loan consolidation.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGHHH!

Today I ended up speaking with two customer service reps, the first of whom was clueless, the second of whom went through the same process of not finding me, not finding me, not finding me, (with the added twist of asking me at least three times if I was receiving phone solicitations … no, thank God, no, thank God, no, thank God), putting me on hold … whoops!  here you are!  She claimed to be removing me from all solicitation lists, assuring me that this should take immediate effect for e-mails, although unlike her counterpart Monday night, she did clarify that I might receive another postal mail if anything had already been sent.

We shall see, we shall see.

Truthfully, though, the thing that pisses me off the most is not that they couldn’t find me in their system, though that does bother me a bit.  I mean, maybe they have separate databases, and I need to talk to Those Other People, you know, the ones who manage that database.  But if that’s the case, why can’t they just tell me that?  Or even transfer me to Those Other People?

I once applied for a job at Sallie Mae, working on their backend data management systems.  If this is how they handle their data, I’m very, very glad I didn’t get that job.

But the thing that really grates my cheese is the fact that they even bothered me in the first place.  I have been paying off my loan for nearly a decade, it’s been owned by two or three companies now, and until Sallie Mae bought it two months ago, I never ever received a solicitation.  I might occasionally get an offer to consolidate slipped into the envelope with my bill, but I have never gotten a separate mail or e-mail trying to sell me a product.

Usually when I’m unhappy with a company, I refuse to do further business with them.  But the Student Loan People have me over a barrel.  Unless I want to borrow money at a higher rate to pay off my loan, there’s no way I can dump Sallie.  But I can call her every time she spams me, or if necessary I can report her to the FTC.

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Entry Filed under: bureaucracy, customer service, incompetence, management, money, rant, sallie mae, spam, student loan, stupid

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