Background: I'm in my mid-30s and attended college for the four years immediately following high school. These four years were almost entirely loan funded and, to be honest I spent most of my age 17-21 years partying rather than studying. After four years I stopped attending school, started to work and have been making payments on my loans ever since. At the encouragement of my wife I started back full-time this semester (Spring '13) in an attempt to do things the right way and graduate this time.
My situation: I called and talked with my loan servicing company about what the repercussions would be if I were to go back. We talked on Jan. 18 (I have notes on all my calls), and I understood that although interest would continue to accrue, my loans would be able to be deferred without a monthly payment so long as my school could verify my enrollment status. They emailed me an enrollment verification form and the next Monday I took it to my school's financial aid office for them to complete.
Fast forward to March 8...I get a voicemail from the loan company with one of those "It is urgent that you return our phone call immediately recordings". They claimed I was two months overdue (no payment in Jan. or Feb.) and that I needed to pay right away in order to avoid credit reporting. I explained my full-time enrollment status and the gentleman on the other end of the phone typed my name into some kind of enrollment database, verified my status and said I should be all set.
March 10, my mother calls me. She cosigned on these loans 10+ years ago, got a letter in the mail stating that I was behind and called the loan company herself. She said I had better give them a ring because they say I still owe payments. I'm thinking that it probably takes a few days for the "enrollment verification" to work its way through the system and I'd be ok, but I call anyways. Yep, turns out they think I'm overdue. In fact, my loans are not eligible for a deferment, full-time status or no. I explained that I had spoken to a representative back in January and was led to believe that they were, he said he'd look into things and call me back.
March 12 (this morning), he calls me back and says he's reviewed the recording of my original call and apologizes for the fact that I received bad information, but according to the promissary note I had signed long ago these loans were not eligible for deferral.
He may very well be right, hate to say it but I don't have that promissary note handy. I admit to him that I'm a little upset, I felt like I had done my homework and asked all the right questions. I made several life decisions based on the fact that this monthly payment would go away (quit my job, took another small student loan, etc) and had I been aware that I would still owe my payments in full I likely would not have gone to school in the first place. He reiterated his apology and said there was nothing he could do and I needed to current or credit reporting would occur within the week.
Now, I realize he's probably right. If these terms were in the note and I signed the note it's my responsibility, even if I did ask and was told otherwise. He acknowledged that there was mistaken information disseminated on their end but nothing he could do about it (he wouldn't even rescind a $5 late fee).
Here's my question. I feel like I'm going to end up getting screwed a bit here (I don't have the funds to get current before it gets reported), but is there anything I can do to either leverage my position (I recognize that this IS my fault, but I feel like I shouldn't be severely penalized for asking the question but getting the wrong answer) to my favor a little and more importantly is there anything I can do to make sure I don't cause a black mark on my co-signer's credit? This is my problem, not my mom's and I would hate to have something I did affect her credit report.