Consumer Protections for Military Personnel and Military Spouses
The Oregon Department of Justice has made protecting all Oregon consumers from consumer fraud a top priority. Now, the Oregon Department of Justice can be an even stronger advocate on behalf of servicemembers and veterans. In 2009, new laws were introduced that make it unlawful for any retailer to knowingly take economic advantage of a deployed or disabled veteran or their spouse.
These laws also allow the Oregon Department of Justice to enforce the consumer protection provisions of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which provides additional protections for servicemembers on active duty.
Any servicemember having a consumer-related problem should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or file a complaint online.
Who does SCRA apply to?
The protections afforded in SCRA extend not only to the regular forces, the reserve forces, and the National Guard forces in active duty, but also to the Coast Guard and officers in the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrative Administration in support of the Armed Forces.
What are some of the significant consumer protections for servicemembers?
Some of the consumer protections provided under SCRA to Oregon veterans and servicemembers include:
Foreclosures and Repossessions: If a servicemember breaches a purchase contract for real property or an automobile, the property may not be foreclosed or repossessed without a court order.
Insurance: Any insurance policy, that was effective before active duty, may be reinstated without waiting periods or other penalties.
Reduced Interest Rate: A servicemember may reduce the interest rate paid on any financial obligation, obtained before active service, to six percent (6%) if active service affects the servicemember's ability to repay.
Termination of Real Estate Leases: If a servicemember is called into active duty, they may terminate, without penalty, leases and rental agreements entered into before or during active military service.
Evictions: Protects dependents from eviction by a landlord while the service member is on active duty.
Court and Administrative Proceedings: Provides for an automatic delay, upon request, of civil court actions, such as bankruptcy and foreclosure.
Termination of Automobile Leases: Generally, servicemember is called to active duty for at least 180 days or more, they can terminate an automobile lease without penalty.
Default Judgments: A servicemember may request the court to re-open a matter and set-aside a default judgment if the judgment was entered during active service.
Are the consumer protections automatic?
No. Many SCRA protections require the servicemember to request the protection before they can use it. For certain protections, such as the lowered interest rates, the servicemember will also need to show how military service affects their ability to pay.
Who should servicemembers contact with consumer protection complaints?
If you, or someone you know, is a veteran, reservist, or member of the Guard and been the target of consumer fraud, please call the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392, or file a complaint online.
To learn more about the SCRA and make sure that you are receiving all of its available benefits contact the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs or your County Veterans Services Officer.
Are you concerned about a veterans charity?
If you are concerned about a veterans charity, please contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392, or file a complaint online. Learn more about wise giving tips at the Department's Charitable Activities webpage.