Three years after settlement reached, bureau to distribute $3.5 million over fees tied to student loan debt relief

Payments to consumers from a $3.5 million settlement reached three years ago over the charging of illegal fees charged to ostensibly reduce or eliminate federal student loans are being sent as of Thursday, the federal consumer financial protection agency said.

In a release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it was distributing the payments resulting from the settlement it reached in July 2020 with Timemark, Inc. for violating the bureau’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The agency alleged that, from 2026 to 2019, the

company used telemarketing campaigns to convince people with federal student loans to pay up to $699 in fees to file paperwork to reduce or eliminate their monthly payments, through loan consolidation, forgiveness, or income-driven repayment plans. However, the agency pointed out, the U.S. Department of Education offers the same options to student loan borrowers for free.

CFPB alleged that the firm used extensive marketing campaigns (including websites, YouTube videos, and Google Ads) to market its services for fees. “Each of these marketing channels provided a phone number for consumers to call to sign up for Timemark Inc.’s services,” the agency said.

Under the rule, CFPB asserted, it is illegal to request or receive any fees for debt-relief services sold through telemarketing before the terms of the debt are altered or settled and the consumer has made at least one payment pursuant to the new arrangement.

“Timemark, Inc. violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule because it requested and received payments from consumers within a few days, or at the latest, within 30 days of their enrollment—before the terms of the debts were altered,” CFPB said.

Payments are being sent through Epiq Systems; anyone not receiving a check who believes they are eligible for funds can submit a claim to the agency at, CFPB said.

CFPB to distribute more than $3.5 million to consumers who were charged illegal fees to reduce or eliminate their federal student loans