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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Members of U.S. Military Subjected to Aggressive Collection Tactics of Litigious Loan Operation

From the observation perch of a sovereign US citizen the least expensive and most beneficial to our servicemen and women is NOT to amend another law with more gobblygook, but instead to Recall all US military persons from their occupation to more than 900 overseas bases. The benefits accruing to all would be:

  1. Reunite military personnel with their families
  2. Reduce taxes for Americans
  3. Reduce costs for the VA
  4. Reduce psychiatric illnesses for service personnel and their families
  5. Reduce foreign hatred for America as an Occupier and Oppressor
  6. Reduce need for illegal immigrant workers 

  1. Restore US national defenses
  2. Restore states' national guard forces to homeland at full complement
  3. Restore border security
  4. Restore military spending to homeland vendors
  5. Restore America's worker pool to higher skill levels
  6. Restore friendly foreign trade relationships
  7. Restore an informed voter electorate
...I'm sure the reader can add some more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

(photo: Sverre Haugland
/Cultura/Getty Images)
A Virginia-based retailer has been aggressively going after members of the U.S. military who have fallen prey to its collection tactics after customers miss payments on overpriced household goods.

USA Discounters has been described by members of the military as "ruthless" in suing them, including those stationed overseas once they fall behind on payments for appliances, computers, jewelry and other items that are sold for prices far higher than in big-box stores.

Military personnel are supposed to be shielded from such litigation under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (pdf) (SCRA). But nothing in the law prevents a company like USA Discounters from choosing where to file lawsuits. In these cases, the sales contract requires that the venue is Virginia, even if the customer made the purchases elsewhere. Often, that means a defendant would have to travel across country or even the world to appear before a civil court.

"This looks like somebody who has really, really researched the best way to get around the entire intent of the SCRA," John Odom, a retired Air Force judge advocate and expert on the SCRA, told ProPublica.

Over the past eight years, USA Discounters has filed more than 13,470 lawsuits, according to the investigative news website, which found the lender almost always wins. And with a court victory in hand, the company can then garnish the wages of service members—something it does more than any other business in the U.S.

This strategy is "designed to obtain default judgments against consumers without giving them any real opportunity to defend themselves," said Carolyn Carter of the National Consumer Law Center.

USA Discounters will sell to anyone who walks into their stores, but most of their locations are near military bases and they offer credit to any member of the armed forces.

When interviewed about his company's business and legal practices, USA Discounters' vice president Timothy Dorsey told ProPublica: "This company is committed to ensuring that the men and women who serve and sacrifice for our country are always treated with the honor and respect they deserve." Dorsey added that his company provides credit to many military personnel who otherwise wouldn't qualify for it.

He even claimed the use of Virginia for all lawsuits was for "the customer's benefit," since state law allows businesses to avoid using a lawyer to sue, thus saving on legal fees that are supposedly passed on to customers. The company says members of the armed forces may request to be sued in another state.

In addition, Virginia law states that if a defendant doesn't respond to the notice of suit, they may be represented by an attorney; however, the law allows the plaintiff to suggest an attorney to represent a defendant. One attorney, suggested by USA Discounters, represented defendants in all 11 of the cases ProPublica examined.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley

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