When you borrow federal student loans, the U.S. Department of Education is usually your lender. But it doesn't handle your payments, answer questions about your student loan debt, or change your repayment plan, if necessary. Instead, that's the job of your loan servicer.
When you miss more than 270 days of payments, your loans default. And when that happens, your servicer starts the process to move your account to a collection agency like Credit Adjustments, Inc.
If Credit Adjustments is contacting you about defaulted student loans, then you're at risk of an administrative wage garnishment, tax refund offset, and Social Security Benefit Offset. Here's what to know about this debt collection agency.
Disclaimer: Although I am a student loan lawyer, this article contains general information and should not be taken as legal advice. If you want legal advice that pertains to your specific situation, you should schedule a free consultation with me.
What is Credit Adjustments, Inc?
Credit Adjustments (CAI) is a private debt collector hired by the Department of Education to handle federal loans in default. Since 2007, the company has been paid $241 million under a contract set to expire in September 2024.
Is Credit Adjustments Inc legit? Credit Adjustments is a legitimate debt collection agency of government and higher education debt, including federal student loan collection accounts, accounts receivables, and other consumer debts. The company touts that they are a "people-first contact center" that is a leader in healthcare and student loan collection services, offering a full range of contact management solutions. CAI is BBB accredited with an A+ rating. It's not a scam company.
What Can Credit Adjustments, Inc. Help You With?
If Credit Adjustments is assigned your defaulted student loans, you can contact the company about the following repayment options:
- Settlement: is the only option to save collection fees and reduce some of the accrued interest. Many federal student loan settlements save the borrower about 10-15% of the current loan balance.
- Loan Consolidation: allows you to get out of default fast. You do not need good credit to qualify. Your credit score won't be checked in the application process. Instead, you're eligible to get a Direct Consolidation Loan if you're not under an active administrative wage garnishment and you have at least two loans to include in the application.
- Loan Rehabilitation: gets you out of default, qualifies you for new financial aid, and allows you to clear CAIVRS after making 9 payments in 10 months. This program also stops wage garnishment after you make your fifth payment.
- Voluntary Repayment: does not get you out of default. Choose this option only if you're not eligible for consolidation or rehabilitation.
Can Credit Adjustments take my tax refund? Credit Adjustments can take your tax refund from the IRS if your federal student loans are in default. You can request a tax refund offset reversal for extreme financial hardship by contacting the Default Resolution Group at 800-621-3115. Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has promised not to offset tax refunds until after January 31, 2022.
What Credit Adjustments Can't Help You With
Until you get your loans back into good standing, you're ineligible for:
- income-driven repayment plans
- deferment and forbearance
- new financial aid
- student loan forgiveness programs
- FHA mortgage
How to Stop a Student Loan Wage Garnishment From Credit Adjustments?
Federal law allows Credit Adjustments to garnish wages without a court order to collect defaulted federal student loans.
- Gather documents: before you call, get a copy of your two most recent pay stubs and most recent federal tax return. You'll likely need that financial information if you establish a payment agreement.
- Speak with a representative: ask for your account number, how many loans you have in default, and what's your total balance.
- Learn your options: ask the representative what your options are to stop the wage garnishment. Before it starts, you may be able to negotiate a settlement, apply for loan consolidation, or enter into the loan rehabilitation program. After the garnishment starts, your options are limited to settlement and loan rehabilitation.
- Submit required documentation: if you chose loan consolidation, submit the consolidation paperwork to your loan servicer. If you chose the loan rehabilitation program, you'd need to submit and do three things: (a) the Loan Rehabilitation Income and Expense Form and proof of income; (b) schedule 9 monthly payments; and (c) sign and return the Loan Rehabilitation Agreement Letter.
- Confirm receipt: after you submit documents and make any necessary payments, call Professional Bureau. Ask the representative if the company's received the documents, payment and if you've completed all the required steps.
Which is better for my credit report: consolidation or rehabilitation? If the student loans aren't on your credit report, both consolidation and rehabilitation will likely have the same effect on your report and credit score. The loans will be added back, but none of the past negative information should return. If the loans are on your report, rehabilitation will remove the default status and keep the blemishes. Consolidation will give you a new Direct Consolidation Loan and mark the old loans as "paid in full through consolidation."
Can I get Credit Adjustments removed from my credit report? Federal law prohibits inaccurate reporting. So if the information from Credit Adjustments is wrong in any way, you can try to have it corrected or removed from your credit report. Speak with a professional that handles Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) issues for help.
How to Make Student Loan Payments With Credit Adjustments
You can make payments in the following ways:
- Phone: Credit Adjustments customer representatives can take payments using a debit card. You can set up the payments by calling the company at its phone number, 800-347-9623.
- Mail: You can mail payments for Department of Education Loans to National Payment Center, P.O. Box 790336, St Louis MO 63179-0336.
- Online: For Department of Education held loans, you can make payments at myeddebt.ed.gov.
To start making payments online, follow these three simple steps:
- Create an account on MyEdDebt. Click on "Borrower/Student" and "Create Account" to sign up for an account. The site will prompt you to enter your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, email, etc.
- Add a U.S.-based debit card. Once your account has been activated, you can make a one-time payment. The system doesn't accept credit cards or cards from foreign banks.
About Credit Adjustments, Inc.
Credit Adjustments was founded in 1964 and is headquartered in Defiance, Ohio. The company also has offices in Toledo and California (Ontario), and New Hampshire (Manchester). Its main corporate office is at 1250 Geneva Blvd, Defiance, OH 43512.
Contact Information for Credit Adjustments
You can contact Credit Adjustments, Inc's customer service department by phone by calling 800-347-9623. The call center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 6 pm EST and Friday from 8 am to 5 pm EST.
You can mail general correspondence to: Department of Education Division, Credit Adjustments, Inc, PO Box 5640, Manchester, NH 03103.
How to Complain About Credit Adjustments
If you're having difficulty with Credit Adjustments that you've been unable to resolve, start by filing a complaint directly with the Default Resolution Group. It oversees the collection process. Call 800-347-9623.
Another option is to file a complaint with the Federal Student Aid Feedback Center.
You can also file a complaint with the Department of Education's highest customer service office, the FSA Ombudsman. Call 877-557-2575.
If your issue goes unresolved, you can also make complaints about Credit Adjustments to:
- the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- your congressional representative
- your state attorney general's office
Lastly, because Credit Adjustments is a debt collector, the company must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other consumer rights laws (e.g., no harassing phone calls. threaten to garnish wages without authority, etc.). Contact an FDCPA law firm near you to learn if you can take legal action.
Need help with Credit Adjustments? Let's talk
If you want to go over your options, schedule a free 10-minute phone call with me. I've got years of experience helping people like you with their student loans.
Let's talk. I can help you find a way to get out of default while saving the most money and preserving your eligibility for loan forgiveness.