Soldiers Relief Act
When a soldier is called to active duty, they leave behind their family and their job, in many cases the only income coming into the home. To protect their families from debt collector's, the government has in acted the Soldier's Relief Act...but it appears many debt collectors never got the memo...
While American Servicemen are fighting for the American dream....spouses left behind, like Renea Hayes are fighting to keep their American dreams alive.
Renea Hayes, North Attleboro
It's hectic as you can ever imagine..
Renea's husband was deployed in April, with the 115th MP company...he had to leave his job...leaving the family with only a small income from the National Guard...
Worrying about that on top of everything else puts you over the edge...
Suddenly the bills began mounting, and debt collectors began calling.
They'll start at 8 am and go to 9 to 10 at night.
And it get's worse..
I've had a few make threatening comments, 'we'll call the commanding officer,' 'we can have him stripped of his rank'..'we can attach his wages we can even put you in prison!'
But by law they can't because thanks to a statute passed by Congress, military families during active duty..are protected by the soldier's relief act. It regulates among other things, interest rates, but most importantly, it waives late fees and it's supposed to keep debt collectors from calling ..but in many cases it hasn't.
Chris Lefebvre, Consumer Attorney
It's really outrageous that people are in Iraq fighting freedom, yet spouses are home being harassed by the credit industry and something should be done about it.
In fact Call for Action called several customer service departments of a number of financial institutions and most representatives didn't know what the soldier's relief act was.
Susan (on the phone)
You have to put me on hold to find out?
Facing insurmountable debt, military families like Renea's are forced to give up their American dreams.
At this point I've had to hire an attorney and file for bankruptcy.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector and your spouse is in the military, you have every right to demand to speak to a supervisor and remind them of your rights. If you still don't get anywhere, you can always...Call for Action.