Published: October 2017

Updates needed to protect servicemembers from debt collectors

Coalition: National Consumer Law Center

Consumer Action joined the National Consumer Law Center and other groups in a letter to the House and Senate armed forces committees urging updated rules to protect servicemembers from predatory practices by companies that seek to take advantage of them as a result of their uniforms.

Consumer Action joined the National Consumer Law Center and other groups in a letter to the U.S. House and Senate armed forces committees urging updated rules to protect servicemembers from predatory practices by companies that seek to take advantage of them as a result of their uniforms. The letter points out that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has documented instances of harassment of members of the Armed Forces by debt collectors, including threats to contact commanding officers in order to coerce payment of alleged debts. The Department of Defense (DOD) has policy directives governing how members of Armed Services must comply with debt collectors, including when creditors can receive processing assistance from commanders. However, these policies are nearly a decade old and do not reflect changes in other consumer protections. As a result, unscrupulous actors exploit these out-of-date policies by, for example, creating the false impression that financial contracts grant debt collectors the unrestricted right to contact servicemembers’ commanding officers. Signers urged the committee to direct the DOD to review and update its policies in order to protect the financial health of members of the Armed Servicers and their families so that they can be ready to protect our country if necessary.

Other Organizations

Allied Progress | American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) | Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) | Center for Responsible Lending | Consumer Action | National Association of Consumer Advocates | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) New York Legal Assistance Group | Public Justice Center | Public Law Center | U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Veterans Education Success

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Updates needed to protect servicemembers from debt collectors   (support-letter-ndaa-sec653.pdf)

 

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