When the phone rang, James Hunter's legs burned in pain.
Ever since an accident when he was 30, he's been paralyzed from the waist down, and the relentless calls from Navient about his student loans triggered his nerves.
"Any time my phone would ring, I would get an anxiety attack," Hunter, 44, said.
His $60,000 in federal student loans have been canceled due to his severe disability, but Navient, one of the country's largest student loan servicers, is still collecting on his $40,000 in private loans. He sent the company notes from his doctor, and explained to them that he's in a wheelchair and unable to put his film degree to use, but to no avail. The calls continued.
"They had my back against the wall with no remedy," Hunter said. "I felt hopeless."
Now he's suing the company for damages from the harassment.
Navient called Hunter nearly 2,000 times, according to his lawyer Billy Peerce Howard, from The Consumer Protection Firm in Tampa, Florida. Peerce Howard is currently working on around a dozen other cases, in addition to Hunter's, against Navient over its robocall practices.
Nikki A. Lavoie, director of corporate communications at Navient, said many borrowers require one-on-one support to fully understand their options.
"Direct communication is critical to address, resolve, and avoid delinquent and defaulted loans," Lavoie said.