Author Topic: Williams & Fudge: Collectors for student loans as persistent as a grade of "F  (Read 32042 times)

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    • Debtor Talk:  "Tough Love" for the Collection Industry.
This article is about a collector that,  if you owe on student loans, you DO NOT want to run into:  Williams & Fudge.

These highly aggressive collectors, whose own name sounds like it belongs to someone's alma mater, can tie up your phone faster than the frat brothers at the Delta Delta Delta fraternity can hogtie a "pledge", at least according to what one of our members says in this thread:

http://debtorboards.com/smf/index.php?topic=1084.0

Their contact information:

Phone:    1.800.849.9791
Fax:    1.803.329.0797
Postal Address:    775 Addison Avenue, Rock Hill, SC 29731

And, they also also factorers, so it seems; this address is listed for that purpose in this listing of SC factoring companies:

We factor, too.

That address:

Williams and Fudge Inc.
452 Lakeshore Parkway, Rock Hill SC 29730

What does W&F say in their on-line "catalogue" about themselves?  Here are some excerpts:

http://www.wfcorp.com/aboutus/

Quote
History
Williams & Fudge, Inc., was founded in 1986 by Gary Williams and Neil Fudge with the purpose of serving the higher education community. With a combined total of 29 years of collection experience they sought to create an agency that would emphasize personal service to each client. In November 1991, Gary Williams purchased the stock of Neil Fudge to become the sole stockholder and remains so today.

Goal
Our goal is to assist colleges and universities in achieving and maintaining low default rates for all campus based federal and private loan programs. Williams & Fudge's professional approach to collections is designed to maximize the recovery of lost monies for the loan programs and institutional receivables.

If you look at the image on the page, even the corporate offices resembles the administration building on a college campus!  That is, no doubt, deliberate.

Their philosophy also shows just how little the debtor-students mean to them, except as an income stream:

http://www.wfcorp.com/aboutus/philosophy.html

Quote
"Our Clients Serve As Our Board Of Directors"

This is not just a slogan. We realize that client relationships are very important. At Williams & Fudge, we believe that student loan management and collections should be a partnership between the institution and the collection agency. From our president to our newest employee, we respond quickly to our customer needs. Our service representatives visit your campus several times each year. We are an extension of your office, and we will listen and respond to your needs. All of our clients have the ability to communicate with any member of our organization via telephone and E-mail.

Note that their "prompt, courteous service" is intended for their clients, called "customers" here.  And, their reps., they claim, are continually trained (and that is probably about as accurate as the usual course description in the average college catalogue):

http://www.wfcorp.com/services/student_loans.html

Quote
At Williams & Fudge, Inc., we truly believe that we are an extension of your institution. We understand the importance of preserving the relationship that exists between the student and institution. Our account representatives also understand how important it is to recover those lost dollars so that future students will have an opportunity to receive the benefits of low interest loans.

Williams & Fudge's account representatives receive continuous training for all campus based Federal loan programs. Each representative has direct access to Federal Regulations and the Student Financial Aid Handbook. All account representatives have on-line capabilities to interface with the national billing servicers, as well as direct internet access to the web sites of the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services. It is our opinion that in order to be successful in collection of Federal loan programs; you must have full knowledge of all regulations that govern both the Federal Perkins Student Loan and Health Profession Student Loan Programs.

Our account representatives have received vigorous training in all aspects of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act before they begin collection efforts on your Federal or Private loans. The knowledge gained ensures compliance with Federal and State laws that govern collections. All eligible account representatives have taken the American Collectors Association certification exam to become certified collectors.

We are more than bill collectors. Our account representatives will assist you in managing your loan portfolio by examining and determining the best method for removing accounts from default status. As a client, you have the ability to communicate directly with any account representative via telephone or e-mail.

Well...what does ACA certification really add up to?  As for the last statement, about removing accounts from default status?  They HAVE to go along with that, at least for Federally-guaranteed loans.  The law requires it!

Indeed, they provide "soup to nuts" business office services, from day one, for the clients.  Including "skip-tracing":

http://www.wfcorp.com/services/skip_trace.html

Quote
Borrowers continue to be very mobile in today's world. In search of jobs they travel across country and often times fail to provide current address information to the institution when they relocate. Trying to locate these students requires detective work and access to multiple databases. Williams & Fudge will provide skip-tracing services to locate those lost students and obtain the most current information available for a modest fee.

All of Williams & Fudge's account representatives are trained in the art of skip tracing. Every one of our account representatives has on-line access to a multitude of informational databases to aid in our effort to locating borrowers. We subscribe to services that include NCOA (National Change of Address), Caller ID, Fastdata, internet sites and national credit bureaus. Our staff is committed to continually search for the most innovative technology which will aid in locating borrowers who have skipped.

So, where are their P.I. licenses?  That seems to have been left out of the equation...but the implication is clear as to those other "most innovative technology" methods W&F uses to find alleged "skips".

Also, note that there is a separate "catalogue" for the "students"...eeep!...debtors:  http://www.wfpayaccounts.com/

That site only includes forms for the debtors...no other information.  Hmmm...what are they trying to hide by doing this?  Efficiency cannot be the only excuse reason...

And, what do their student-debtors say about Williams & Fudge?  The reviews are not exactly high praise.  On this site which deals with discussions started by and for students of colleges and universities, W&F got creamed, along with the on-line university whose credits turned out to be non-transferable:   

http://www.studentsreview.com/discuss.php3?root=3.562.44.0%20&uid=

Quote
Re: Westwood College Online - - Thu October 20, 2005, 8:25 pm

I am active duty military and signed up after returning from Iraq to Westwood Online.  I was told that my GI Bill and tuition assistance would cover the majority of the costs and I could get financial aid for the rest.  I started during the 05 mid term and only took two classes because the time frame was shorter.  I was also going through a military school at the same time (Biological Intergrated Detection Systems).  I was told that the school was military friendly and would bend over backwards to complement my military schedule.  I ended up failing a class because my last assignment was 1 day late (because I was in a field exercise and had no access to a computer).  After completion of my military school I was moved from Kansas to Louisiana. I was automaticly enrolled in three more courses but I could not take these courses because I didnt a home and all of my household good where in storage until I could get an apartment. Westwood did eventually drop me from the classes but now I owe them $4271.00 which is because they gave me a break for dropping the class early I would owe 7200.00 if not for the break. I only took two classes. They turned my account over to a collection agency (Williams & Fudge).  I called Williams and Fudge and they tell me to call the school, I call the school and they tell me to call Williams and Fudge.  I fell that I have been taken advantage of.  First of all I have been charged for classes that I didnt take. Second I was told the college was military friendly but thats a bunch of bull.  Lastly they are saying that if I reenroll that everything will be ok and I can get my tuition assistance to cover the cost.  I have been counseled by a military education counselor and was told that Westwood has a national accredidation and it was all but useless when trying to transfer credits to other colleges.
nicholas.l.johnson@us.army.mil

Indeed, this institution..AND Williams & Fudge...are hand-in-glove at creating dissatisfied students.  This is another complaint about both of them from "Students' Review":

http://www.studentsreview.com/discuss.php3?root=3.562.34.0%20&uid=

Quote
Westwood College Rip-Off - - Tue June 28, 2005, 8:53 pm

I graduated from Westwood in Ft.  Worth over a year ago, and I'm also one of the people involved with the current lawsuit.

First of All - There financial aid program. That's a BIG scam they have to just try to pump all your money from you.  They say if you can't get enough federal aid or student loans that they will finance the remainder of the balance. The thing they forget to mention is they will charge you 18% interest for the course of the loan, and if you fall behind, they threaten to kick you out, but don't because they know you won't pay them if you are not going.  They will however hold you “degree” until you are paid up.  It's been about a year, and I still haven't seen my degree.  What I did see were collection letters and calls from a company called Williams and Fudge about month after I graduated. I never receive a bill or invoice from the school for payments, like they said they would send me every month.

In addition, only 1 school in this area that I've heard of will accept part of their credits.  I was 20 when I went to the school, and learned many of the graphic arts programs on my own.  I kept finding out that I knew more than the instructors, and if you proved them wrong, you would tend to find yourself with a lower average. Of course when you would bring this to the administrations attention, you got no help at all.

They also tell you that they will help you find job while attending Westwood to help pay your bills, and find you a job in your chosen field after you graduate. When I started, the only help I got in finding a local job was them telling me to look in the newspaper. As for after I graduated, it's been a year now, I've received 2 calls from them, both times to tell me they lost my resume again.

There is several more issues with Westwood, and obviously I recommend not going to Westwood, but also look into the information of the school yourself, don't buy into what the recruiters are telling you.  Many of the recruiters have step forward, and admitted to the shady practices by Westwood.

After a year and a half of struggling going to school during the day, and working at night, the only thing I have to show for it is the bag under my eyes.  Don't make the same mistake I did.

Also, this is the news report link that came out about Westwood.  There are about 5 follow-ups on the story, dealing with the Westwood claims, and dealing for-profit schools as well.
Westwood ain't liked, and neither is W&F!

(The URL was "hidden" due to its length.)

These posts from the (obviously not too well moderated) "Black Law student Discussion Board" shows that W&F will pass on charges they should not (the refernece to W&F is down a ways, and has been highlighted) (offensive words edited). I have "cut out" the posts that apply to this discussion from within this A+ example of "off-topic" posting:

"W&F is helping Morehouse College rip me off, bro!"

Quote
HBCU.EDU
Sr. Citizen
****
Posts: 1151
<<edited for offensiveness>>

kobiepha
   
   Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5543 on: December 24, 2004, 02:16:02 PM »


Hey, I don't see my post about the student loans. I'll post it again. anyway, I had a 2000.00 student loan from Morehouse that went into default. There was a 50% charge on the loan so I had to end up paying 3000.00. Therefore, if you guys have loans out there make sure you pay the motherfuckers. I dind't even know I had it because it was so small. The bulk of my loans are from the u.s. dept. of edu.  I forgot all  about that little loan from the shcool. Anyway, just pay that sh*t because you wont be able to get another loan from law school unless your shir is current. <<snip>>

Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5544 on: December 24, 2004, 02:32:27 PM »
   
<<snip>>!

50% is outrageous.  I didn't even know people charged that much.<<snip>>

HBCU.EDU
Sr. Citizen
****
Posts: 1151

kobiepha
   
   Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5545 on: December 24, 2004, 02:38:44 PM »
   
[Quote from: mobell195 on December 24, 2004, 02:32:27 PM]
<<snip>>

yeah. sh*t is crazy: both the fact that I'm working and that I got charged 50% for a loan that went into default. That sounds crazy. I called my school and they said that the loan was satasfied. As a matter of fact, they wouldn't have released my transcripts to lsac if I owed them money. So, if I don't own the school any more money then who in the #@!* do I owe? Well,looks like I had to pay campus partner who "services" the loan for Morehouse. So, Morehouse gives me the loan ---> goes into default and Williams and Fudge tells me to pay them back (debt collection agency) I pay 2000.00 ----> Campus Partners say I owe them 1000.00 a 50%fee on the origional balance because they service the loan even though Morehouse says that the loan is satasfied. I'm like WTF? <<snip>>

HBCU.EDU
Sr. Citizen
****
Posts: 1151...

kobiepha

   
   Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5546 on: December 24, 2004, 02:48:40 PM »
   
http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/COHORT/cohortdata_detail.cfm?Record_ID=1675&record=1&TOTAL_REC=1

Something  does't seem right about that. I'm researching default rates online and morehouse has a 13% rate. hmmmm. I reckon it recalculates ever year? I'll keep checking.<<snip>>

MoBell195
   
   Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5547 on: December 24, 2004, 02:52:38 PM »
   
How often does it accrue, though?  This was 50% one-time? Or was it like 11% or something that kept growing?  I'd be really suspicious of that if it was really 50%...that is a long way away from 13%!  Sketchy...fight the man!  ;D

HBCU.EDU
Sr. Citizen
****
Posts: 1151
<<caption edited due to it's being offensive!>>

kobiepha
   
   Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #5548 on: December 24, 2004, 02:54:40 PM »
   
http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/dmd002.html

Hmmmm...perhaps I should call the U.S. Dept. of Edu. and see if I can get my money back. Seems like there is a possibility for me to challance the charge I guess.

But, when the Bursar of the University of VA was looking for a CA, they were on the list of candidates:

http://fa1.finadmin.virginia.edu/bursar/mail-archives/2000/0447.html

Quote
Hi,

I want to thank everyone for their responses to my request for collection
agency referrals. Here is a summary of the referrals I received in case
anyone else finds themselves looking for a new agency in the future. The
list is in no particular order. GRC got the most recommendations with 4. I
can personally recommend RC Services. We use them and are especially
pleased with their results on student a/r. Mark Mundy (formerly with AFSA)
is also an excellent resource.

If you have the time, I'd be equally interested to know if there is anyone
on this list that you would NOT deal with and why. Also, does anyone deal
with Allied Interstate out of Minneapolis? I had them on a prior list, and
I'm wondering if any of you have had any experience with them - good or bad.

Collection Agency Recommendations

Williams and Fudge Contact: Bob Perrin or Gary Williams
PO Box 11590 Phone: 1-800-849-9791
Rock Hill, SC 29731 Website: http://www.wfcorp.com <<snip>>

This was at the top of a very long list, which includes some of the most infamous names in collections...BUT they did not choose W&F. I wonder why?

“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."
~ Olver Wendell Holmes