Days after an online protest forced Sallie Mae to drop a $50 penalty against unemployed borrowers, the private lender has apparently been scrubbing its Facebook and Twitter pages clean of consumer backlash.The lender buckled on Thursday under pressure from the 100,000 signature-strong protest, which called for an end to the fee.
Rather than completely do away with the fee, which went directly to the lender’s pockets, Sallie Mae agreed to apply the cash to students’ loan repayments instead.
That wasn’t good enough for some protesters, who flocked to Sallie Mae’s UPromise Facebook page over the weekend.
Along with their comments, Sallie Mae seems to have rid its wall of at least two personal posts by students sharing their troubles repaying loans.
Sallie Mae hasn’t responded to a request for comment, but here’s an example of a post before and after the lender deleted negative comments. In this case, commenters didn’t seem to be posting anything all that inflammatory, but did call for the lender to drop the fee.
See more screenshots of deleted posts here, courtesy of Change.org.
“It’s not surprising that the same company that callously disregards borrowers’ current financial difficulties would also disregard borrowers’ ability to speak freely about those usurious practices,” Stef grey, the college graduate who launched the protest, said in a statement Monday. “They may have silenced us on Facebook, but it won’t stop us from continuing to speak out against the unemployment penalty they continue to charge.”
organisers of the protest claim the lender is also blocking users who post negative comments on Twitter.
This isn’t the first online campaign that’s pressured major companies to backpedal on unpopular consumer fees. Similar Change.org petitions helped ward off Bank of America’s $5 debit fee and Verizon Wireless’s $2 convenience charge last year.