We applaud the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for taking military members’ complaints seriously and going to bat for them. Since July 2011, the CFPB investigated more than 14,000 complaints from service members, veterans, and their families about harassing debt collectors, fake attempts to clean up credit reports, mortgage schemes and bad banking services.
The bureau followed up on 14,000 complaints and as a result military members got, or are scheduled to get, refunds of more than $1 million.
The CFPB says it gets about 250 complaints a week from military families from every branch of the services and from every state. It’s not surprising that the top three complaints of service members and their families mirror those that plague the rest of the nation’s consumers.
Aggressive and deceptive debt collectors top the list. Debt collectors often threaten or actually reach out to a military member’s supervisor and try to use the chain of command and threats of a loss of a security clearance for intimidation.
Student loans are also a big problem. Service members frequently get the wrong information from loan servicers and are repeatedly asked to provide the same paperwork showing their military status.
Payday loans are supposed to be illegal for military members and their families. The Military Lending Act (MLA) prohibits interest rates above 36 percent on some types of loans, including certain payday loans, auto title, and tax refund anticipation loans, to active-duty military, their spouses, and dependents. Yet the CFPB says it appears that some lenders are skirting the law.
Mortgage servicers fail to provide accurate information about programs created to help service members who are having trouble making mortgage payments. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said, “Military families make enormous sacrifices for our nation and deserve to be protected.” His agency accepts complaints about banking, mortgages, credit cards, debt collection, debt reporting, debt repair, loans, payday loans and money transfers. If you have a complaint, it’s a good bet that they can help you. http://www.consumerfinance.gov