On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a complaint against the City of El Paso, Texas (the “City”) and several co-defendants alleging violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) for auctioning off at least 176 motor-vehicles owned by SCRA-protected servicemembers. According to DOJ, the actions taken by the City constitute enforcement of liens on the property or effects of servicemembers, which is prohibited under the SCRA without first obtaining a court order. … Continue Reading
New CFPB report highlights increase in servicemember identity theft incidents
On January 12, 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a report highlighting an increase in reported incidents of identity theft by servicemembers. The report, titled “Servicemember reports about identity theft are increasing,” cited to data from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) that showed nearly 50,000 cases of identity theft involving military consumers (including servicemembers, veterans, and their family members) in 2021. … Continue Reading
New CFPB report proactively encourages creditors to apply SCRA interest rate benefits
On December 7, 2022, the CFPB issued a report recommending that creditors proactively provide Servicemember Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) interest rate benefits to eligible customers, bypassing the statute’s requirements of a written request from the servicemember and proof of military service. The report, titled “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Evidence of activated Guard and Reserve servicemembers’ usage of credit protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” highlights the underutilization of the SCRA’s interest rate benefit by eligible servicemembers.… Continue Reading
CFPB and DOJ send joint letters to landlords and mortgage servicers on CARES Act and SCRA protections
On Monday, the CFPB and DOJ announced that they sent joint letters to landlords/property management companies and mortgage servicers regarding the protections given to servicemembers by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Letter to landlords/property management companies. The letter only addresses SCRA protections for early lease terminations and evictions. … Continue Reading
National Defense Authorization Act amends SCRA to restrict use of arbitration agreements and waivers of SCRA protections
In addition to amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act dealing with the reporting of adverse information on servicemembers by consumer reporting agencies, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as passed by the House and now headed to the Senate includes amendments to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that restrict the use of arbitration agreements and waivers of SCRA protections.… Continue Reading
National Defense Authorization Act amends FCRA to restrict reporting of adverse information on servicemembers
The National Defense Authorization Act as passed by the House and now headed to the Senate includes amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act dealing with the reporting of adverse information on servicemembers by consumer reporting agencies.
The amendments add the defined terms “uniformed consumer” and “deployed uniformed consumer” to the FCRA. … Continue Reading
DOJ enters into consent order with NJ student lending authority to settle claim of alleged SCRA violations
The Department of Justice announced earlier this week that it has entered into a consent order with the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to settle the DOJ’s claim that HESAA violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by obtaining unlawful court judgments against two military servicemembers for amounts owed on student loans. … Continue Reading
CFPB Office of Servicemember Affairs issues 2020 Annual Report
On May 6, 2021, the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs issued its eighth annual report summarizing its activities from January 1 through December 31, 2020. The report discussed the Office’s consumer outreach and educational efforts, servicemember complaint trends, and priorities for 2021.
The Office’s educational outreach focused on specific economic challenges and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including forbearance programs and emergency grants.… Continue Reading
GAO report shows servicemembers can effectuate USERRA and SCRA rights in arbitration, and arbitration clauses do not prevent servicemembers from pursuing many claims administratively, without class actions
Consumer advocates often contend that Congress should prohibit arbitration agreements with class action waivers because servicemembers and other consumers need class actions to effectuate their statutory rights. However, a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to Congress last month contains data that refutes that argument.
The GAO report studied the impact of mandatory arbitration agreements on claims by servicemembers under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). … Continue Reading
Justice Department Obtains Its Largest Ever Settlement Against A Property Management Company for Alleged Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The Justice Department announced in a March 15 press release that it has reached an agreement with property management company PRG Real Estate Management (PRG) and several related entities to settle claims that PRG violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by obtaining evictions and money judgments against service-member tenants by filing affidavits that did not accurately reflect the tenants’ military status.… Continue Reading