Amy and Josh were just getting started, but they were already struggling. Amy had just completed nursing school, while Josh had just graduated from the police academy. They had two young children, and were struggling to keep up with massive private Navient student loan payments that they could barely afford.
That’s when they got a call from a company called “Consumer Protection Counsel” (CPC). CPC promised that if Amy and Josh simply stopped paying their private student loans – and started paying CPC instead – CPC’s team of experts and attorneys would protect them from Navient, and their private student loans would either be canceled or deemed uncollectible. Their credit histories would be protected and even repaired. All they had to do was sign a contract and pay a monthly fee. The deal seemed too good to be true, but Amy and Josh felt trapped by their student debt, and they didn’t know what else to do. After a series of high-pressure phone calls from CPC, they signed on the dotted line and began sending monthly payments to CPC – and stopped paying Navient.
Of course, what CPC never told them was that their private student loans would go into default after they stopped paying, severely damaging their credit and that of their cosigners, and leading to threats of legal action. They also weren’t told that there was no guarantee that the loans could be canceled or deemed uncollectible. They were never informed that they could even face a lawsuit. Amy and Josh’s student loan problems would not go away – they would get worse.
As Amy and Josh’s credit was falling apart, CPC (which, unbeknownst to them, was previously sued for taking advantage of people) became “Omni Management Partners.” Omni contacted Amy and Josh and aggressively pressured them to sign a new contract, this time with even more oppressive terms. Again, Amy and Josh felt trapped – they knew something didn’t quite feel right, but they were already in so deep; what else were they supposed to do? They signed on with Omni and continued sending over payments.
Within a year, Navient had hired a law firm to pursue Amy and Josh for the defaulted loans, and Omni and CPC had done nothing to help them, despite all the money that Amy and Josh had paid. When they finally decided to cancel their contract with Omni, Omni responded with a barrage of threats and daily harassing phone calls that went on for weeks. Omni continued to try to debit their bank accounts for the monthly fees, even after they told Omni to stop.
Amy and Josh’s story unfortunately is not unique. Many others were victimized by CPC and Omni as well. And there are similar operations all over the country that take advantage of people’s desperation as they try to manage unmanageable student loan debt.
I have joined up with several other consumer protection attorneys, including Attorney Elizabeth Miller and the DeLadurantey Law Firm, to pursue Omni, CPC and related entities for fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, and violations of federal consumer protection laws. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in southern Florida, where the companies are based. It is my sincere hope that my clients, Amy and Josh, can get some justice.
If you’ve been contacted by a company promising something that seems too good to be true, trust your gut. Check out these tips for spotting scams and other predatory operations.