Nelnet / third-party, affiliate marketing, and privacy options

United States

I have consistently opted out of third-party and affiliate marketing whenever I sign on to Nelnet for self-servicing. However now, as a condition of being able to even use the website, I can no longer choose to opt-out of third-party and affiliate marketing. Today, I received a phone-bot message for a limited-time special direct loan consolidation program, which pointed me to a non-nelnet website. Sounded suspicious. I called Nelnet to opt out (again) since they have removed that option in their new website, but they pointed me to a dead internet link that is no longer valid. The CSR then said she can put me on the do-not call list if I gave her my phone number. After a few minutes of conversation, I asked her to recite my phone number that I previously gave her, but she could not recall the number. So I accused her of giving me lip service and for being a liar. The CSR said, "I'm tired of arguing with you and I don't have to take this from you. I'm putting you through to a supervisor." After a 20 minute wait, I was patched to a supervisor who emailed me a PDF document that I have to sign and mail back in just to opt-out of marketing. Nelnet claims the marketing call I received is exempt from my opting out of third-party and affiliate marketing because it is from the US Department of Education. So I called the US Dept of Education and confirmed that this offer is from them, that is is a limited-time, and that it is legit. The US Dept of Edu says that although I have loans from ACS, Great Lakes, and Nelnet- if I choose to consolidate then all of my loans will be randomly assigned to 1 of 4 services, with Nelnet being one of them. No thank you. If student loan accounts are going to be treated like commodities, then I would rather pay off my small $4k balance with Nelnet than risk a 25% chance of being stuck with Nelnet for the next 20 years. I wish I had a choice as a consumer who I shall have a business relationship with, since I very deeply value good customer service and robust privacy policies.

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