Military members, check your interest rates. If you are on active duty, you should not be charged more than six percent—for your credit cards, your mortgage, or your car loan, if you obtained these loans before you went into the military. This rate is good for the duration of your active service, and lenders can’t try to charge you more for this period after it’s over.
We’re investigating, to see whether service members are getting this benefit, and also whether companies are taking advantage of those on active duty in other ways.
Men and women give up a lot when they enter the military services. They put their lives on the line, they accept lower incomes, and, as this act recognizes, they give up individual freedom of action. A crewman on a sub can’t take a second job to pay his credit card bill; and a soldier in Afghanistan who can’t meet her mortgage can’t go home to sell the house.
The lower interest rate is just one of the ways that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) tries to ensure that members of our nation’s army, navy, air force, marine corps, and coast guard “devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the nation” by easing some of the burdens of everyday life.
You may not get the relief provided by the SCRA automatically; you must request the low interest rates with a copy of your military orders, or provide other documentation for other provisions. But you shouldn’t have to engage in a long wrangle with companies who should already know what the law provides.
If certain companies have a pattern of refusing this benefit to service members, then a class action may be the best way to highlight the pattern and put an end to it.
Bank of America has already agreed to pay $24 million for charging service members illegally high interest rates, and Nationstar, a mortgage servicer, is being sued by a JAG officer for not honoring the SCRA as well.
If you suspect that your rights under the SCRA are being violated, we want to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience has been.Article Type: Investigation