Federal government couldn't find loan check

Nina Pineda has a 7 On Your Side report
Seven On Your Side
March 10, 2014 2:40:15 PM PDT
7 On Your Side goes back to school, taking on the U.S. Department of Education.

It's because of a woman who paid off her student loan, but the feds couldn't find her check.

"What has that been like for you? Month, day in, day out?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"So stressful," said Vi Trinh, a college graduate.

You can't really blame Vi Trinh. For the past year this college graduate's been schooled in battling a bureaucratic bungle by the U.S. Department of Education.

"They're rude and they give me the runaround and sometimes they even hang up on me," Trinh said.

As the first in her family to graduate from college, Vi earned her cap and gown through student loans taken out by her parents.

"I appreciate it so much. You don't even know," Trinh said.

More than a year ago, her dad sent in a hefty bank check for $7,700 as the final payment on her student loan.

"The government said they never received my check," Trinh said.

But the back of check tells a different story, the loan loot deposited into the U.S. Treasury.

"Where did it go? Vanished?" Trinh said.

She says bill collectors are calling nonstop, and her credit's a catastrophe.

"I'm trying to save up for a wedding to buy a home soon and I can't do that with this on my credit report," Trinh said.

Then last month, the Department of Education intercepted her tax refund.

"Here you are looking forward to this $1,300 and then what did you get here?" Pineda asked.

"Refund amount, zero," Trinh said.

So 7 On Your Side called DOE and about a week later.

The feds finally found her check!

"Considers this debt settled in full," Trinh said. "Thank you so much for helping me and getting my story out there."

A representative for the U.S. Department of Education said the check was deposited in someone else's account.

It couldn't say how it was put there or why it took so long to find. But the representative did apologize for the mistake. As for Vi, she and her fiancé are going shopping to buy a new condo.