Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
HERRING HIGHLIGHTS CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES
~ The needs of Virginia veterans and military families have been a focus of his Consumer Protection Section, which has recovered approximately $120 million in debt relief and compensation in cases involving members of the military community ~
RICHMOND (March 6, 2019) – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginia veterans and military families to familiarize themselves with the special consumer protections in state and federal law that may protect them and their families from fraud, scams, predatory lending and abusive business practices. Veterans and military families are often targeted by scammers and unscrupulous businesses because they have a consistent income and can often be called away from home for long periods of time. Attorney General Herring has made the needs of veterans and military families a priority for his re-organized and expanded Consumer Protection Section.
"It is hard to imagine, but there are people out there who will rip off veterans and military families in order to make a buck,” said Attorney General Herring. "Our military families have already sacrificed so much on behalf of our Commonwealth and our country, and we owe it to them to make sure they are protected from abuse and exploitation at the hands of scammers and shady businesses. My team and I have taken significant action over the past few years to crack down on these despicable people who prey on military families and veterans, but we will not let up until it is clear that Virginia is the last place in the world that they should try these schemes against our citizens.”
In 2017, Attorney General Herring launched the "Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide,” a comprehensive guide to help veterans and military families understand their employment rights, consumer protection resources, educational and tax rights and benefits, voting rights and more. The Guide is available at every Department of Veterans Services Benefits Offices, every Virginia Community College System Campus, the military assistance provider at every four year college and university, and online at www.VaMilGuide.com.
Attorney General Herring has taken major action to protect veterans and military servicemembers from exploitation. This past October, he called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and then-Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to continue protecting military servicemembers against predatory lenders under the Military Lending Act. The federal Military Lending Act provides consumer credit protections to servicemembers and certain members of their families including:
- 36% interest cap on loans.
- A limit on fees and a requirement for written and verbal disclosure of all fees associated with the loan.
- A ban on mandatory arbitration, the waiving of legal rights, and prepayment penalties.
Attorney General Herring secured more than $50 million in debt relief and civil penalties as a result of his lawsuit against Future Income Payments for making illegal, high-interest loans to more than 1,000 Virginia veterans and retirees in violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
He and his team also won the largest multistate settlement ever led by Virginia against USA Discounters, resulting in approximately $100 million in debt relief and compensation for veterans and military families, including $27.4 million for thousands of Virginia consumers, who were abused by the retailer's lending and debt collection practices. The USA Discounters settlement followed a similar action against Freedom Furniture that secured millions in relief for veterans and military families who were victims of illegal debt collection tactics.
Attorney General Herring encourages veterans and military families to familiarize themselves with the following consumer protections, which are discussed in more detail in "Chapter 2: Protections for You as a Consumer” in the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide.”
The Service Members Civil Relief Act includes the following key protections:
- Limits on Interest Rates.
- Limits on Sale, Foreclosure and Seizure of Mortgaged Real Estate.
- Restrictions on Repossession.
- Protection from Immediate Eviction.
- Termination of Some Contracts due to Relocation.
- Protection Against Default Judgment.
Virginia law prohibits payday lenders and motor vehicle title lenders from issuing loans to military servicemembers, their spouses, or children.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates the conduct of debt collectors including:
- Limits on contacting people other than the borrower, including a servicemember's chain of command or employer.
- Limiting collections contact to reasonable hours and locations.
Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:
- By phone: (800) 552-9963
- By email:
- Online Complaint Form
- Online Contact Form
Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $292 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth's General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.
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