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  1. Also, the military isn't exactly an "at-will" employer, and your paycheck is federally backed. From my experience lenders typically view your income as more definite/reliable than someone with the same income that works at a local department store or small business. Not so important for people with great credit, but to someone who has a lower credit score or is borderline for approval it may work in your favor.
  2. I'm sure you don't mean to mislead Moorlock21, but "pretty much says the same thing" and being the same are vastly different when dealing with law. So this post isn't mean to be adversarial, but I wanted to clarify to anyone reading that might need to know more. Don't be misled by anyone that the SSCRA is the SAME as the SCRA. In theory (and as I've seen in practice), a bank can write to a soldier once they're deployed, telling them there has been a problem applying protections available to the soldier, and ask that they sign an attached document stating that they agree to submit to all provisions allowed under the SSCRA, and to waive all other rights that might conflict with affecting the application of protection under the SSCRA. Well guess what? If you just signed that document, you've essentially waived your rights under the SCRA that actually has more protections because you didn't know the difference. "Legalease" might be confusing to many soldiers, but if you're ever asked to waive any right, do some research, and go to JAG first. For reference, these are some, but not all, of the key differences between the SSCRA and SCRA: SSCRA: National Guard only protected when under Federal service (Title 10). SCRA: Title 10, OR State service (Title 32) over 30 days gets protection. SSCRA: Only protects service member. SCRA: Protection applies to service member AND family members/dependents. (Dependent defined by this law as anyone "for whom the servicemember [has] provided more than one-half of the individual's support for 180 days immediately preceding an application for relief under [the SCRA.]") SSCRA: Protection from civil court proceedings. SCRA: Protection from civil and administrative proceedings. Examples of State Administrative Agencies for my state of Washington can be found here: http://access.wa.gov/agency/agency.aspx Most states have a list like this. The SCRA protects you from hearings that an agencies like one of these until you come off orders. Note that you are NOT protected from criminal proceedings. SSCRA: Stay of civil proceedings was up to the court to decide. SCRA: Stay of proceedings is automatic for 90 days when the service member asks for it, and repeat stays can be obtained. This same section applies protection against the request for a stay of proceedings to be constructed as submitting to personal jurisdiction. If you don't know what that is, it's a good idea to find out. SSCRA: You can waive your rights to protection at any time, EVEN IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOU'RE DOING SO! SCRA: You can waive rights in writing during or after service. (You can still do it without knowing, but it can't be because there was a clause in a contract you signed without reading three years ago that says you waived rights under SCRA.) SSCRA: Interest could be deferred and NOT forgiven; i.e. A lender could deffer the amount of interest over 6% and then charge it all back when a service member came off orders. SCRA: The "nterest in excess of 6 percent per year" is FORGIVEN, not deferred. Additionally, monthly payments must be recalculated and REDUCED by the amount of interest saved during the covered period, not just recalculated and essentially accelerated. SSCRA: No eviction if rent is less than $1,200 without a court order. SCRA: No eviction if rent is less than $2,400 without a court order, a much more contemporary amount reflected than previously allowed for. here is also an inflationary provision that adjusts the $2,400 cap by allowing for annual adjustment based on housing prices in the service member's dwelling area. SCRA: Using the SCRA doesn't preclude a service member from a legal remedy not otherwise stated in the SCRA for a violation of the SCRA; i.e. Just because the SCRA says you can get A for X violation doesn't mean you can't also get B, C, and D for X violation. Also important: SCRA: No default judgment against a service member can be found without the court determining if the individual is in the military and the court must appoint counsel to defend the service member's rights if applicable SCRA: Power of Attorney or an actual attorney can represent your interests. The SSCRA was amended 13 times since its enactment in 1940, in an attempt to keep it relevant to current events until passage of the SCRA in 2003. The SSCRA is now obsolete, and allowing a creditor to say they'll follow the SSCRA is to potentially lose protections provided under SCRA that a service member is entitled to. There are a lot more that I didn't list including differences in tax protection, voting rights, life insurance, auto leases, great ease for YOU to end a lease while making it harder for the landlord to do so, protection for your business if you're the owner, suspending malpractice suits if you're a lawyer and called to service (in which case this probably isn't your first time hear about all this), protection/relief from repossession... the list goes on. These two acts are very different. Know your rights, but don't abuse them. - Doc Rob
  3. I would hesitate before telling you there are no consequences, but there shouldn't be any, no. They credit union people were just really pissy about having to lower the rates on a loan with 13% interest and a credit card that I believe was at 23%. I pointed out that they kept referencing the SSCRA, not the SCRA, and it turned out they had no idea the SCRA existed. Including one of their attorneys I got to speak with. After talking to him, my issues were resolved within a half hour. They really didn't like that I had walked in and told them they were refusing to follow the law and that they'd been doing so since at least 2003 when the SCRA law went into effect. I'm National Guard, and the area I live in has a tiny number of military members who can use the law, but there are a few. The law itself spells out very clearly that they are not to take negative action like lowering the credit limit, including fees in any kind of way that attempts to circumvents the law, they can't save it up and apply it later, etc. The only thing they can do is put a note on your report that says "Deployed/Active Duty" or something like that to protect your identity. That's it though. Other creditors changed interest rates as soon as they received my letters. Like I said earlier, Capital One changed my APR to 0%, USAA did 4%, and two other banks lowered it to the required 6%. I gave a copy of that letter to everyone in my platoon, and one guy ended up going in to that same credit union and they refunded interest charged during his first two deployments! I doubt that happens very often, but they were pretty cautious at the time. You're pretty well protected by the SCRA, and if you're reserve component, by USERRA. Most lenders didn't even verify I in the military once I sent them a copy of my orders, it's a little unlikely there's a reputable bank that wants to be made an example. As to consequences of using the deployed rate... I didn't have any problems. If I remember correctly, the SCRA is pretty specific in explaining that it only applies to debts incurred before service. To the letter, I'm sure the normal rate applies on any credit card purchases while deployed since you're incurring them after you entered active service. Then again, a card agreement and rate set before service... I don't know. But neither did any bank I talked to, and again... no one wants to be an example. None of my credit card companies charged a higher rate on purchase while deployed. I used the Capital One card almost exclusively for the 18 months I was there, and the rate never changed. I wouldn't count on that being the case for taking out a loan though
  4. No problem, it's something I've been putting together for a while now. I used to ask the same questions, and everyone always told me "xxx says that it's 3 years, but on this website it says six" and then the arguments start and I just got tired of it. The best way to really find out is to have the law in front of you, so... there you go, I hope it helps!
  5. This is long, so bear with me. There's also a lot of detail behind where each statute comes from and what it applies to, so do the reading yourself to verify it fits your situation. The first part is just how to show that a credit card is an open account/agreement, the part under "Miscellaneous" is just to help further define what you're looking for. It has Washington's definition of credit cards. PM me if you need more info. I'm not a lawyer, but I can point you in the direction you may need to look. Email me if you'd like a Word document of the same thing, but easier to read. Reason Credit Card SoL is 3 years: Limit is 3 Years: (Contracts not in writing or not from a contract in writing limited to 3 years.) RCW 4.16.080 - Actions limited to three years. The following actions shall be commenced within three years: (3) Except as provided in RCW 4.16.040(2), an action upon a contract or liability, express or implied, which is not in writing, and does not arise out of any written instrument; Cite: RCW 4.16.080(3) Credit Cards/Open Accounts Statute of Limitations (Listed in an order that is easy to follow, not sequentially, as written .) RCW 62A.3-118 - Statute of limitations. (g) Unless governed by other law regarding claims for indemnity or contribution, an action (iii) to enforce an obligation, duty, or right arising under this Article and not governed by this section must be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues. (a) Except as provided in subsection (e), an action to enforce the obligation of a party to pay a note payable at a definite time must be commenced within six years after the due date or dates stated in the note or, if a due date is accelerated, within six years after the accelerated due date. Cite: RCW 62A.3-118(a),(g)(iii) “Written Contract†Exemption for Credit Cards (Definition of written contract doesn’t apply to credit cards.) RCW 19.36.120 - Exempt agreements. RCW 19.36.100 through 19.36.140 and 19.36.900 shall not apply to: (1) A promise, agreement, undertaking, document, or commitment relating to a credit card or charge card; or (2) a loan of money or extension of credit to a natural person that is primarily for personal, family, or household purposes and not primarily for investment, business, agricultural, or commercial purposes. Cite: RCW 19.36.120(1),(2) Credit Cards Are Not Contracts (Definition of Credit Card is “Agreementâ€, not “Contract".) RCW 62A.9A-102 (a) Article 9A definitions. In this Article: (2)(A) "Account," except as used in "account for," means a right to payment of a monetary obligation, whether or not earned by performance, (vii) arising out of the use of a credit or charge card or information contained on or for use with the card, (47) "Instrument" means a negotiable instrument or any other writing that evidences a right to the payment of a monetary obligation, is not itself a security agreement or lease, and is of a type that in ordinary course of business is transferred by delivery with any necessary endorsement or assignment. The term does not include © writings that evidence a right to payment arising out of the use of a credit or charge card or information contained on or for use with the card, Cite: RCW 62A.9A-102(a)(2)(A)(vii),(47)© Definition of Credit Cards and Types of Agreements (Definitions current until 7/1/11 when SB 6379 takes effect.) RCW 63.14.010 - Retail installment sales of goods and services – Definitions In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: (2) "Goods" means all chattels personal when purchased primarily for personal, family, or household use and not for commercial or business use, but not including money or, except as provided in the next sentence, things in action. The term includes but is not limited to merchandise certificates or coupons, issued by a retail seller, to be used in their face amount in lieu of cash in exchange for goods or services sold by such a seller and goods which, at the time of sale or subsequently, are to be so affixed to real property as to become a part thereof, whether or not severable therefrom; (3) "Lender credit card" means a card or device under a lender credit card agreement pursuant to which the issuer gives to a cardholder residing in this state the privilege of obtaining credit from the issuer or other persons in purchasing or leasing property or services, obtaining loans, or otherwise, and the issuer of which is not: (a) Principally engaged in the business of selling goods; or ( a financial institution; (4) "Lender credit card agreement" means an agreement entered into or performed in this state prescribing the terms of retail installment transactions pursuant to which the issuer may, with the buyer's consent, purchase or acquire one or more retail sellers' indebtedness of the buyer under a sales slip or memorandum evidencing the purchase, lease, loan, or otherwise to be paid in accordance with the agreement. The issuer of a lender credit card agreement shall not be principally engaged in the business of selling goods or be a financial institution; (6) "Bank credit card plan" means a credit card plan in which the issuer of credit cards is a national bank, state bank, trust company or any other banking institution subject to the supervision of the director of financial institutions of this state or any parent or subsidiary of such bank. (10) "Retail charge agreement," "revolving charge agreement," or "charge agreement" means an agreement between a retail buyer and a retail seller that is entered into or performed in this state and that prescribes the terms of retail installment transactions with one or more sellers which may be made thereunder from time to time and under the terms of which a service charge, as defined in this section, is to be computed in relation to the buyer's unpaid balance from time to time; (11) "Retail installment contract" or "contract" means a contract, other than a retail charge agreement, a lender credit card agreement, or an instrument reflecting a sale made pursuant thereto, entered into or performed in this state for a retail installment transaction. The term "retail installment contract" may include a chattel mortgage, a conditional sale contract, and a contract in the form of a bailment or a lease if the bailee or lessee contracts to pay as compensation for their use a sum substantially equivalent to or in excess of the value of the goods sold and if it is agreed that the bailee or lessee is bound to become, or for no other or a merely nominal consideration, has the option of becoming the owner of the goods upon full compliance with the provisions of the bailment or lease. The term "retail installment contract" does not include: (a) A "consumer lease," heretofore or hereafter entered into, as defined in RCW 63.10.020; ( a lease which would constitute such "consumer lease" but for the fact that: (i) It was entered into before April 29, 1983; (ii) the lessee was not a natural person; (iii) the lease was not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; or (iv) the total contractual obligations exceeded twenty-five thousand dollars; or © a lease-purchase agreement under chapter 63.19 RCW; Cite: RCW 63.14.010(2),(3),(4),(6),(10),(11) MISCELLANEOUS RCW 62A.4-111 - Statute of Limitations. An action to enforce an obligation, duty, or right arising under this Article must be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues. RCW 4.16.270 - Effect of partial payment. When any payment of principal or interest has been or shall be made upon any existing contract, whether it be a bill of exchange, promissory note, bond or other evidence of indebtedness, if such payment be made after the same shall have become due, the limitation shall commence from the time the last payment was made. WAC 162-40-021 - Coordination with Federal Law. (1) It is the policy of the commission to coordinate its enforcement of the Washington state law against discrimination with enforcement of the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Pub. L. 93-495, as amended, and Regulation B Equal Credit Opportunity 12 CFR 202, to the maximum extent possible without diminishing the impact of the state law where the statutes differ. Federal law alters, affects or preempts only those regulations contained in this chapter which are inconsistent with federal law, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency. (2) Differences between state and federal regulations. The state of Washington is a community property state; therefore, regulations governing community property may define the differences between the federal and state regulations. WAC 162-40-041 Credit Transactions (10) "Credit card" means any card, plate, coupon book, or other single credit device that may be used from time to time to obtain money, property, or services on credit. (17) "Open end credit" means credit extended under a plan in which a creditor may permit an applicant to make purchases or obtain loans from time to time directly from the creditor or indirectly by use of a credit card, check, or other device. The term does not include negotiated advances under an open end real estate mortgage or letter of credit.
  6. The USO at Joint Base Balad/LSA Anaconda/Al-bahkr Airfield/Balad Air Base/whatever they're calling it this week to try and look PC. I honestly think it was the only thing left that kept me sane the last two weeks of my deployment. With free wireless internet, games, computers, food, movies... it was amazing, and allowed me to stay in touch with people back home. I can't say enough about how much something so simple as using your own laptop to get online any time you wanted really meant.
  7. Not so simple answer: Both. If you are Active Duty and the debts were incurred after you joined, no. If you are Reserve/National Guard and the debts were incurred before you joined, OR if the debts were incurred in between active duty service, yes. The only real catch to that is if you are going to make more during the deployment than you are now. But that's something they have to figure out and generally I've seen them err on the side of just lowering your interest rates. Some creditors will work with you; I had great luck with Capital One, although a lot of people haven't. I sent them an SCRA letter and a copy of my orders, and they dropped my interest rate to 0% even though all the charges on it were made during or after military service. So it doesn't hurt to try. A couple loans I had through a local credit union were a little harder to get reduced, but they did. The loans were taken out right after MOS training, about 5 months before deploying.
  8. Do you mean USERRA or SCRA? I've had experience with both. And you're right, neither protects from non-payment. The latter is the one my post was about. In my case it was a mistake on their part in getting both my bank's routing number and my social wrong by one digit. And as an earlier poster said, to them everyone has a story. That's probably why I was written off as just someone who defaulted until I got home and was able to send a DD 214 directly to their legal department. I didn't go into all the details in that post, but they were not a compassionate lender. The full story involved repossessing and selling THE WRONG CAR. I had two red Honda Civics, they took the wrong one and sold it at auction before coming back and getting right vehicle. I was called in to the Drill Sergeant's office during Basic Training twice to talk about it, three times during AIT with a minimum of 7 calls a week for about 8 weeks threatening as much legal action as they could without saying they would sue... It was really a horrible experience. But that's exactly what the SCRA is for... Really grateful for that law. The USERRA issue was for a company not rehiring me when I got back from IET. It took from October 2008 until last month (16 April) to resolve, but it was finally settled with back pay and liquidated damages. Again, I'm grateful these laws exist. From what I've seen and experienced, it's typically an issue where the soldier just wasn't paying his bills. Or financial trouble prior to their enlistment because they just didn't have the money. While that's not justification for not following through on financial obligations, some of the lending practices I've seen and heard from other soldiers disgusts me. Kids fresh out of AIT that have an enlistment bonus and a steady income for the first time just aren't educated enough about money a lot of the time. I know I wasn't back then, and I knew quite a bit! But new soldiers are going out to dealers that practically start drooling when they see large cash down on a flashy, overpriced car, and realize a military paycheck is golden. The soldier often doesn't realize 21% interest on a $15,000 car car is not a bargain. Even though the salesman was "able to talk 'them' down into stretching out the payment over 72 months. And those are the ones I wish I could talk to and counsel; that need sites like this, and not some PowerPoint with a bunch of acronyms and BS "if you have any questions, ask your chain of command" advice. We got a briefing like that during an AAR after a six day mission shortly before leaving Iraq last time. This was right after 14 straight hours on the road (IED's and route clearance delays, mostly). Everyone was crashing from the sugar, Rip-its, Wild Tiger, Red Bull, no-doze, Adderall, or whatever else they had used to stay awake, and the last thing anyone cared about was a briefing on their rights to reemployment or protections to their finances. Alright, now I'm just ranting. I just wanted to clear up which law I was referring to, and to ask anyone who's still in to make sure your Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines know about forums like this. Check the box when you have to, but follow up on it by actually getting involved. And Egypt would be real cool, haha. I'm still hoping to hit up Bright Star someday, it just hasn't worked out with my unit's deployment rotation!
  9. I have a story about the SCRA and a repossession... I went to Basic Training in March 2007 and had set up arrangements with Lender X to make a payment that would bring me up to day on the loan (I was at least 90 days on the loan) and to make automatic payments every month coming from my checking account. In the past, every time I called Lender X and gave my social to verify who I was, they couldn't find me. It turned out someone had misread a 4 as a 9 in my SSN on the credit application. Multiple attempts to correct it led to them telling me it had been changed. When I left for Basic, I sent them copies of my orders and informed them of the SCRA's provision for lowering interest rates, and protections against repossession. I called the lender and the confirmed all was good, so I left thinking all was good. Several weeks later I called home and was told that my car had been repossessed! When I called Lender X to find out what was going on they told me I hadn't made payments and that their attempts to verify my military service showed I wasn't in the military. They had continued to use the incorrect SSN they hadn't in fact changed, not the one on the credit application, my orders, the one I called in with, or the copy of my SSN Card that I faxed in. Over the next four months they continued to call me once I had a phone and eventually auctioned off the car and sent the remaining balance after the sale to collections. I wasn't able to do much at the time, but when I got home from training in October, I mailed my DD 2214 and a letter stating the facts and remedies I wished to have to resolve the issue without litigation. They called the day after getting my letter I got a call from Lender X's senior counsel informally agreeing to all that I requested and telling me it just needed to be written up into a contract. Once we both agreed upon the terms of the release and settlement, it was solved. In the end I had them return all payments I made for the car, remove the repossession from my credit report, pay for personal items in the car when it was taken, and a small fee for my time in dealing with the whole mess. I also won a USERRA case after returning from Iraq, but I don't think that's very relevant to this forum. Hope that helps someone!

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