Friday, November 18, 2016

HESAA: Stop Bribing Kids To Lie To Me!


As I logged in to pay my monthly pound of flesh to HESAA I noticed something different...a three star Google rating? What?! Has HESAA decided to enact "self reform" and lower interest rates for struggling borrowers? Has HESAA offered standard bankruptcy protections? Has HESAA decided to "do the right thing" and disband itself on moral grounds? Of course not! They are bribing their new suckers - err young students who don't know any better yet - into posting love letters to HESAA.

That's right. Your warden in hell is using the few extra dollars they have lying around after fleecing you to spend on brand new flash drives for students they will suck dry for the next few decades, all because the borrowers in repayment rated them 1 star on Google for their god-awful practices. 

How do I know they are bribing people? It's right there on each and every five star post, the following message states from "the owner": "Thank you for reviewing our customer service. In appreciation of the time you took to write this review and sending us a screenshot of it we have sent you a flashdrive to assist your studies."

If by customer you mean "unsuspecting rube" or by service you mean "we pretty much can take all your money and not help you in any way whatsoever" then this would be a tad more accurate. Moreover, this is clearly a ploy to polish their image online at our expense. (Annie Waldman over at ProPublica wrote about this here: https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jersey-student-loan-agency-getting-good-reviews-giving-free-stuff)

I have a modest proposal, get over to Google and look at each one of those glowing posts and flag that review. Google will ask for your email, then they will ask for the violation type, which in this case is clearly "This post contains a conflict of interest." Nobody is hurt in the end, all the students had to do was take a screen shot of their positive review right? 

Let me now address the good young people who are accepting TAG grants or (please don't for your own good) NJClass loans from HESAA and then rating them five stars on Google:

Ok, I get it, it's a free flash drive. I was a poor student once and I gleefully slurped cheap noodles and hit every event that offered free pizza, hung out in dining halls ect. But sometimes in life you have to ask yourself "is what I'm about to do potentially harmful to others?" I know, I know, that sounds a bit much but hear me out. Those hundreds of thousands out there who have consistently rated HESAA one star, might actually have a point. You may never have had to pay a student loan back, but if you borrow from these people you will pay... and pay... and pay. Trust me, I'm one of the many, many people who owes so much after borrowing so little. So please do the right thing now. After you get your flash drive (I'm not made at you for the free swag) head back to the post you wrote and delete it. If anybody asks you why, just tell them there's a good person just like you out there who may actually avoid a lot of suffering because they were properly warned before they signed away their financial soul. 



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ray of Hope: A Class Action Lawsuit Against HESAA?

Since 2014 a few brave souls have toiled in the bowels of HESAA HELL trying to echo the chorus of howling voices suffering in silence. While there has not been enough on the ground or legal action to back up our collective tales of woe that may soon be coming to an end - at least on the legal front. It all starts with our continued commitment to getting the word out about this important issue in NJ state politics and in the national political landscape. 

You, dear reader, should contact Mr. Larry Sarlo if you want to take part in the first ever class action lawsuit against HESAA. As he related it to me, this particular suit (there could be more to follow) rests on the idea that HESAA provided you what's called "false service" kind of like false advertising. According to Sarlo: "Anyone who has been served a lawsuit either through HESAA or any private student loan servicer should contact me via email," which is LSARLO@comcast.net.

He also said that the lawsuit is still in it's beginning stages and the lawyers he is working with are still setting up parameters for who will qualify for the suit. When you email him, prode some details about the suit you have been served with from HESAA and be sure to include your contact information. Other details to provide the lawyer are the circumstances under which you took the loan and the information you were provided about the loan, if any. Sarlo said if a borrower feels "their loan was provded in a way that it was never affordable in the first place or they thought they were dealing with state government rather than a private student loan" service, they should get in touch with him. I suspect there are many, many of you out there so send that email now to LSARLO@comcast.net.

This is a start to a long battle that we must take on ourselves because clearly the politicians like Sweeney and Christie are not on our side. The more people who think they qualify and get in touch with him the better. The significance of this, provided there are enough people in the suit, is that HESAA may at some time in the future be made publicly accountable for their horrible practices that stifle the productivity, suck the life energy and deplete the bank accounts of a generation. Like all movements, ours is starting slow but with time it will pick up the necessary steam to change these predatory student loan practices once and for all.

Never give up the fight and email this guy at your earliest convenience!