Hannah Cole Sep. 1, 2015, 2:01pm


Three Florida men are suing national loan provider Sallie Mae and its third-party debt collectors over claims of illegal actions.

Terrence Dowdel, Eddie Evans and Charles Smith filed a lawsuit July 15 in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court against loan provider Sallie Mae, citing illegal actions, including collecting illegal penalties, making continuous harassing phone calls without consent and intentionally reporting adverse information to credit reporting agencies.

The claim states that Dowdel took out several loans from Sallie Mae in 1999. He put his subsidized loans in forbearance or deferment, and began paying back his Signature loans in 2010. According to the claim, Sallie Mae knowingly and intentionally applied payments to the deferred subsidized loans instead of the active Signature loans. Dowdel claims he made numerous phone calls to correct this error, but has seen no changes, and as a result has been charged penalties and late fees, as well as a higher interest rate. According to the claim, Sallie Mae continues to knowingly provide inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies monthly, which could adversely affect Dowdel's and his co-signer, Evans', credit ratings.

The claim also states that Smith took out private student loans from Sallie Mae in 1998 and 2004. Beginning in July 2010, he began and continues to make payments for his student loans. According to the claim, Smith never provided a cell, work or home phone number to Sallie Mae, yet he has received repeated, harassing calls at all hours of each day from Sallie Mae's automated telephone system, ensuring he has no way to communicate his frustration with a real person, and no way to ask that the calls stop.

Dowdell, Evans and Smith are seeking damages in excess of $15,000, plus court costs. They are being represented by Jeffery M. Wilkins and Melanie A. Mucario of Wilkins von Mertz Law Firm.

United States Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Florida case number 6:15-cv-01147-JA-GJK

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