The Pitch: Debt Relief. The Reality: Borrowers May Pay More.

A growing industry targets people struggling to repay student loans

Kristen Schmid for The Chronicle

Rick Cibelli, earning minimum wage and with $10,000 in student-loan debt, signed up with a debt-relief company. After learning that the federal loan-forgiveness program it pitched does not exist, he managed to get the upfront fee back, a step that puts him among the more fortunate clients of the growing businesses.
August 04, 2014 Premium content for subscribers. Subscribe Today

When Rick Cibelli heard a radio ad last year promising to slash his student-loan payment, he called right away. As a caregiver in a group home for developmentally disabled adults, he was making minimum wage and struggling to repay the $10,000 he’d...

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