Can I Get Out of an Income Share Agreement?

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Q: I had signed an income share agreement through Meratas with a bootcamp is there any way I can get out of this agreement? They assured that I would get a job and I did not get one through them. I am trying to get them to release it as they did not deliver on what was intended and now want to collect. Worst of all they prefer to directly go to litigation if I miss even a single payment.

A: I’m sorry that you are in this position. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some students who have signed and Income Share Agreement (ISA) to deal with the aftermath of sometimes deceptive and costly agreements. ISAs are marketed as nontraditional alternatives to student loans. However, they are still a type of loan in which a funder (or school) pays for the tuition, and the borrower pays it back as a percentage of their income when they start working and earning an agreed-upon salary. All ISAs have different criteria, benefits, and drawbacks. Yet, they all are legally binding contracts, and if you signed one, you have a legal obligation to pay it back, even if you disagree with the value you are getting out of your contract.

Options to deal with an ISA

According to one of Merata’s blogs, you have three options to repay your ISA: completing your required payments, paying your payment cap, or reaching the end of the payment window. However, details about how to resolve payment disagreements are typically included in your contract. It’s important to understand that ISAs are still largely unregulated, unlike traditional student loans. So, your options to get out of this ISA depend on the terms of your contract and the state laws governing the agreement. 

Your best option is to discuss your situation with a consumer protection attorney. They will be able to review your contract and inform you of any legal recourse available to you. They can also help you determine if your funder has breached your contract by not getting you the job they had promised. Some of these contracts use wording that may lead borrowers to misunderstand the assurances and guarantees offered by their funders. It takes a legal expert to know if the law has been broken. In addition, if your funder is threatening you with litigation and they are unwilling to work with you, you must have the proper representation to protect yourself and exercise your consumer rights.

Finding legal help

It’s always best to work with a trustworthy attorney. So, ask your family, friends, and coworkers for a recommendation. If that doesn’t work, you can find an attorney in your area by contacting your state or local bar association. Another resource you can check is your local legal aid, where you can find attorneys offering reduced fees or free assistance to consumers who meet specific criteria. Some attorneys offer free or reduced fees for the first consultation. Before choosing an attorney, ask questions about their experience and fees, and make sure you confirm their good standing with your state bar association. Standing up for yourself and looking after your interests can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to find the proper guidance. You are on the right track and an attorney will help you figure out what your next steps are. If you need additional guidance helping you cope with your finances, you can find a certified financial counselor from one of our trusted agencies online or call 800-388-2227 for help.