In working on your case, we found lots of other complaints and blog posts about loan consolidations that had become a headache for the borrowers, with problems such as incorrect account balances and long time lags. We wondered why some student loan consolidations seem to require a degree in quantum physics to be done error-free.
We called the U.S. Department of Education, under which FedLoan has a contract (along with three other servicers). A spokesman for the department's office of student aid said some of the general confusion occurred when older loans were transferred by the department to new servicers after 2010.
In other cases, borrowers such as you were initiating their own consolidations, with the goal of creating a more manageable loan.
The spokesman said your case was especially tricky, because the consolidation was occurring at the same time you – being a good consumer – were sending in large payments to try to pay down your debt. While FedLoan was trying to move the account balances into one new loan, the balance amounts were changing because of the money coming in.
At the same time, there were differences in the ways each servicer had its files organized, so the numbers had to be entered by hand, and someone made a "manual error" that accidentally added that frightening $68,405 in debt.
"We certainly regret it," the spokesman said.
Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said consumers need to be alert and know that their loan servicer could change. She recommends carefully checking account statements to be sure there are no errors.
Consumers who want to know what's going on with their loans can check out www.studentloans.gov. The U.S. Department of Education also has an ombudsman's office at (877) 557-2575. For info on what type of aid is available, go to www.studentaid.gov.
- The ABC News Fixer
Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.