7 On Your Side steps in to help after refinance runaround for student loan recipient

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda stepped in to help after a recent college graduate was being charged double for his student loan.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- One college graduate from New Jersey says he's getting the refinance runaround after he thought he lowered the interest rate on his sizeable student loan.

But instead of getting a break on his bill, it has doubled. That's why he called Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

"At this point, they're threatening me," student loan recipient Mike Petruk said.

Mike Petruk has a $36,000 problem. The check paying off his student loan with Discover is MIA.

"Wherever that missing check is, I'm now paying the same loan twice," Petruk said.

Last June, when interest rates started coming down, Petruk and his mom -- who co-signed his student loans -- made a savvy move to refinance the 2020 grad's debt with a new loan company named Ernest.

It sent Discover, his old lender, a payoff check worth $36,000. The check was received by Discover and it even showed the full amount paid to Petruk's account at the end of June.

But it still debited Mike's bank account for a loan payment in July.

"I'm now refinancing and paying off the same loans twice," Petruk said.

His mom, Cindy Riehl, said Discover acknowledges receiving the check, but it doesn't know where it is.

Petruk has never missed a student loan payment since getting his degree in restaurant management from Stockton University. He's now the manager at Bistro Bar in Red Bank.

Both Petruk and his mom say they can't get any clarity on where the funds went after Discover got the payoff.

"She said I sent a request to the team that looks up missing checks and they're not responding to me, if a supervisor at Discover couldn't get anyone to respond, I did not know where else to turn, so I turned to 7 On Your Side," Riehl said.

Within 24 hours, Petruk got confirmation that his original loan with Discover was paid in full.

7 On Your Side contacted both Ernest and Discover and both companies said they couldn't comment publicly on customer accounts, but both thanked us.

Ernest said they've been able to confirm payoffs to Discover will be paid in a timely manner. And Discover said the information that we provided helped resolve this for their customer.

And within days, Petruk and his mom got confirmation that their original loan had been paid off in full.

ALSO READ | 7 On Your Side's money moves to make and avoid for student loan forgiveness plan

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