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Debt Collectors Must Respect the Special Rights of Military Service Members

Many Americans assume that few people would ever knowingly take financial advantage of those who serve in the military – especially while they’re deployed. Unfortunately, human greed respects few boundaries. Fortunately, our government has tried to provide our service men and women with special, enhanced consumer protections in light of their unique vulnerabilities, especially while serving outside this country’s borders.

            According to the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), it received over 14,000 complaints from military service members between July 12, 2011 and February 1, 2014. Clearly, many businesses and individuals are knowingly “scamming” some of these people.

            As the CFPB has pointed out, this form of consumer abuse is especially reprehensible sent so many “military families make enormous sacrifices for our nation and deserve be protected.” After all, many who serve in the military earn very modest wages and must regularly battle unique burdens caused by having to live thousands of miles apart. Furthermore, one family member is often regularly “in harm’s way.”

Certain Types of Consumer Abuse All Service Members Must Look Out For

  • Various types of harassing debt collection tactics. One of the last things any service member should ever have to worry about is having debt collectors “back home” regularly contacting their military superiors (“bosses”) regarding their debt status. Yet this has become rather commonplace in recent years;
  • Violations of the service members’ rights involving student loan payments – in violation of the protections (supposedly) provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). One common complaint concerns the heavy amount of paperwork required in order to have SCRA rights observed;
  • Refusing to honor the 36% interest rate ceiling. Many financial institutions, payday loan businesses, and others are failing to respect this loan ceiling referenced in the MLA (Military Lending Act);
  • Special mortgage protections aren’t always being extended. These are owed to service members when a military family receives an official Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Order.

 

Many other types of abusive debt collection practices – some common to all consumers – are also regularly committed against our servicemen and women.

 

If you are a service member and are being harassed by any debt collector or financial institutions, you should contact your Peachtree City consumer protection attorney to learn more about your rights under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). If you’re currently deployed far from home, be sure to speak with your appropriate JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer without delay.

 

If you believe that you’re a victim of any abusive debt collection practices, contact the Law Offices of Georgia consumer protection attorney Shane Smith so you can learn more about your rights under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Call (770) 487-8999 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

 


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia