Feds Accuse Fee-Based FAFSA Service of Deceptive Tactics

July 24, 2015

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday accused the operator of FAFSA.com of misleading and deceiving more than 100,000 consumers. The bureau proposed a $5.2 million settlement to resolve the charges.

The CFPB said that the company, Student Financial Aid Services Inc. misled consumers using deceptive sales tactics and illegally enrolled customers in automatic annual subscriptions without their permission.

Student Financial Aid Services charged students and families for assistance filling out the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. The government’s free website for filling out the form is FAFSA.gov.

The CFPB said the company earlier this month agreed to hand over the FAFSA.com domain to the U.S. Department of Education.

 “Student Financial Aid Services Inc. made millions of dollars at the expense of consumers through its illegal recurring payment scheme,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Our enforcement action will put money back in the pockets of consumers who were misled while seeking to access federal student aid.”

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