- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Takes Action Against Fifth Student Loan “Debt Relief” Company
Boston — United Advisors Group LLC has agreed to pay $44,593 and cease doing business in Massachusetts to resolve allegations that it charged unlawful upfront fees and misled customers about its services, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
“Student loan ‘debt relief’ companies typically target and exploit individuals struggling to repay their loans,” AG Healey said. “My office is committed to preventing these fly-by-night companies from misleading Massachusetts consumers and taking advantage of them by charging unnecessary and unlawful fees.”
The AG’s Office filed the assurance of discontinuance in Suffolk Superior Court alleging United Advisors Group, a California-based company, charged upfront fees to student loan borrowers in violation of state laws governing credit services organizations that do business in Massachusetts. In addition, the AG’s Office alleges the company misrepresented its services to its customers.
Under the settlement, United Advisors Group will provide full refunds to all of its Massachusetts customers, and is prohibited from doing business in Massachusetts and selling or disseminating any customer information it may have collected.
This is the fifth in a series of enforcement actions brought against student loan “debt relief” companies by the AG’s office. The Attorney General previously reached settlements with U.S. Direct Student Loan Services, Student Loan Service.US, Student Loan Processing.US and Direct Student Aid.
Student loan “debt relief” companies often advertise on the internet and market student loan “forgiveness.” They typically induce borrowers to pay hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees to get federal student loans out of default, apply for federal consolidation loans, or enroll in income-driven repayment plans. Additionally, many of these companies falsely imply they are affiliated with the federal government or can provide special access to repayment, refinance or loan forgiveness programs.
Federal student loan borrowers do not need to pay private companies to resolve defaulted loans, enroll in more affordable repayment plans, submit a federal loan consolidation application, or apply for discharges and loan forgiveness. The U.S. Department of Education offers these programs and opportunities directly to borrowers for free at www.studentloans.gov.
Massachusetts residents who have had problems with student loan “debt relief” companies or who want help with their student loans are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Student Loan Assistance Unit at 1-888-830-6277 or visit www.mass.gov/ago/studentloans for free help.
The settlement was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Brook Kellerman and M. Claire Masinton of the AG’s Insurance & Financial Services Division, with assistance from Senior Financial Investigator Shannon Roark of the AG’s Civil Investigation Division.