She tried to make extra payments on her student loans, then almost lost thousands of dollars

After nearly two decades of student loan payments, Lisa Wickman saw the light. Her new fiance offered to help her put an end to the persistent debt. And so the elementary school teacher from Grand Blanc, Michigan, mailed a $7,000 check in February to Navient, one of the country’s largest student-loan servicers.

Weeks went by, and the payment still didn’t show up on her account.

“It got very frustrating,” said the 53-year-old Wickman.

Finally, she called. She said a representative told her that she’d mailed the check to the wrong address. “They led me to believe it was a completely different place I’d sent my check to — but it really was Navient,” she said.

Indeed, she’d found the address on the servicer’s website and the $7,000 check was cleared, and gone from her bank account. She said the representative at Navient told her she’d be refunded in four to six weeks, but months rolled by and the money still hadn’t returned.

“I was told different things by different people,” Wickman said. Four months after she’d sent the check, she was finally refunded the $7,000, but in the meantime interest had accrued. (She said Navient is now working to discharge those additional fees).

Paul Hartwick, vice president of corporate communications at Wilmington, Delaware-based Navient, said he could not immediately provide details about Wickman’s case. However, he said the servicer has recently made updates to its website “to make it even easier for customers to provide instructions related to additional payments.”

He added, “We work very hard to make it easy for our customers to repay their loans.”

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