Student loan fines due to not having a fixed address

TL;DR Sent in deferment, had it refused due to being homeless, got fines until an address could be given. Any way to reduce fines?

I only found out recently, due to becoming self employed, that I had been given thousands of pounds in fines from the Student Loan Company. The reason for this was that I had no fixed address, I was moving from bedsits to airbnbs, never in the same one for more than a week, for about 18 months. When I sent in my deferment they refused it because I had no address. I was working but it was under the threshold and 90% of it went on bedsits/airbnbs...it's expensive being on low income. I was laughed at twice, on separate occasions when asking if there was any way to complain...so I can assume that the Student Loans Company is infallible and there is no hope in getting those fines reduced? I guess I'd have to ask them for data stored on any correspondence I had with them...is that possible...do they keep it? It all happened back in 2014.



Comments

  • kaMelo
    kaMelo Posts: 2,290
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    edited 2 December 2022 at 12:36PM
    By mentioning deferring I'm assuming you are talking about pre '98 mortgage style loans.

    The terms of these loans, as far as I'm aware, have nothing in them to prevent you from deferring by having no fixed abode, people move home all the time. There is a requirement to keep your contact details up to date at all times so every time you move you should have updated your address, given your situation this would have required a lot of updating but not impossible. 
    Also the requirement to provide income details each year, either for deferment or to start repayment, and keep a DD in place for repayment whether repayment is due or not.

    There is the provision for penalty interest rates to be used for those with plan 1 or plan 2 student loans who fail to engage with SLC but there is no provision for "fines" to be added to be added to mortgage student loans.
    The questions therefore;


    Who is administering your student loan?
    What exactly are they saying has (or hasn't) happened?
    What "fines" have been added to your loan?

    Also, looking at your dates this is probably the most important aspect of the whole thing, gather together a detailed timeline of your contact with the loan administrator. Once you have that timeline has there ever been a gap of six years of no contact?

  • djsb
    djsb Posts: 5
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    Test test previous comment disappeared

  • djsb
    djsb Posts: 5
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    [I wrote out a reply and it just disappeard, c'est la vie]

    @kaMelo thank you for you reply, and apologies for my slowness to respond, I didn't get a notification so assumed nobody had replied.

    Yes, I was deferring each year. I had two loans from 96-98, then two more in the 00s. When I passed the threshold a few years ago, I contacted Honours and Erudio, set up monthly payments and paid the 00s off. I assumed I was paying all my loans off with these agreements, But, I am self employed and I was told, a couple of years ago, that I now had to pay my student loans out of my tax return, so I phoned up Student Loans to check everything out. That's when they said I had £2000 to pay and £2000 in charges/fees/fines. Twice I have been chuckled at on separate calls to Student Loans when asking about resolving the fees or complaining.

    The period that I was getting charges for was when I was homeless for about 18 months. I was moving town, city, village, every week sometimes twice a week, if lucky it would be two weeks. From paid squats to the cheapest room I found find. It's expensive being poor, beds aren't cheap. Anyways…

    Who is administering your student loan?

    From emails it looks like Honours, but contact recently was all with main Student Loans Company.

    What exactly are they saying has (or hasn't) happened?

    They wouldn't accept my deferment without a postal address so they just starting charging on it, or adding fees/fines. Email attached, they refer to them as charges.

    I had sent in my deferment but they would not accept it. Eventually I started working for a company and ended up giving the postal address they were registered at…not that I could ever access it.

    What "fines" have been added to your loan?

    £2000.

    Has there ever been a gap of six years of no contact?

    There hasn't been a gap of 6 years without contact. I would submit my deferment each year, and my details were always up to date minus when I was homeless.

  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,765
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    Your loans in the 00s are plan 1 student loans, administered by the slc. Your 96-98 loans are the older style loans from Erudio/ Honours.


    Any payments to Honours would have cleared the earlier loans and not touched the 00s plan 1 loans. So if you know the earlier loans were cleared in full, you are just left with the plan 1 loans to deal with.

    "When are Plan 1 Student Loans written off? If you started studying in the 2005/06 academic year or earlier, your Plan 1 Student Loan will be written off when you turn 65. If you started uni in the 2006/07 academic year or later, your Plan 1 Student Loan will be written off after 25 years"


    you may need to look at when you started your plan 1 loan to see when it is written off. You will have to keep struggling to communicate with slc to find out if there are deferments not applied or outstanding payment due.

    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • djsb
    djsb Posts: 5
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    Thanks for the reply @silvercar. To be honest it's really just about the fines, £2000 seems so unfair considering it was just a box that couldn't be ticked by them.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,765
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    djsb said:
    Thanks for the reply @silvercar. To be honest it's really just about the fines, £2000 seems so unfair considering it was just a box that couldn't be ticked by them.
    I can't see anywhere that outlines penalties on plan 1 loans. Are you sure that the fines aren't actually payments that they assume should have been made because you didn't supply an address so they didn't approve any deferments?

    I would think the next step is to make a complaint:

    7.1 Complaints
    If you’re not satisfied with the level of service you’ve received, you should contact SLC to register a complaint. You can do so by:
    calling 0300 100 0601
    emailing [email protected]
    writing to: Customer Relations Unit, Student Loans Company, 100 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 7JD
    If you’ve used this procedure and are still not satisfied, you can have your complaint reviewed by an Independent Assessor.


    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • djsb
    djsb Posts: 5
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    "I can't see anywhere that outlines penalties on plan 1 loans. Are you sure that the fines aren't actually payments that they assume should have been made because you didn't supply an address so they didn't approve any deferments?"

    Yep, I think this must be what they mean. "Charges" in email, "fine/fee" in phone call, but reality is they are probs just adding up payments for the period they refused to accept the deferment? £2000 though...

    Thanks for the info.
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