Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman has sued a group of retailers who sell to military families, charging that they have repeatedly violated Colorado's consumer lending laws.
The suit names USA Discounters, LTD, d/b/a USA Living and d/b/a Fletcher’s Jewelers.
“Our military service members are susceptible to scams particularly while serving away from home and we must take aggressive action to protect them. We must curb the business practices of companies targeting service members and their families for illegal lending practices,” Coffman said.
In August 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) obtained more than $350,000 in refunds for servicemembers, charging that USA Discounters tricked thousands of servicemembers into paying fees for legal protections servicemembers already had and for services that the company failed to provide.
USA Discounters operates two locations in Colorado Springs and, according to the suit, focused heavily on credit transactions with members of the military and their families, often locating its stores in close proximity to large military bases, such as Fort Carson Army Base and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
This is Coffman's second major lawsuit in the last several months against retailers targeting military families. And, as in the Freedom Stores case, USA Discounters was subject to an earlier examination that identified significant problems with its credit practices, including charging of excess fees, charging of improper late fees, failure to provide a mandatory notice of right to cure a default, and extending additional credit on closed accounts without a new or refinanced loan agreement, Coffman's office said.
Despite its agreement to correct those deficiencies, a follow-up examination by the Attorney General in 2014 revealed that many of those violations were not corrected, Coffman added. According to the complaint, that exam also revealed that USA Discounters was filing suit against Colorado-based service members in Virginia instead of in Colorado as required by applicable law, and was engaging in unconscionable collection practices.
The complaint filed seeks consumer restitution, a permanent injunction from filing suits against Colorado consumers in foreign jurisdictions, and penalties among other relief.