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FTC Staff Perspective Examines Key Financial Issues That Affect Military Consumers

Latest steps in Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s efforts to protect servicemembers

A new Staff Perspective, a paper by the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, examines financial issues that can affect military consumers, including servicemembers, veterans, and their families, when they are purchasing and financing a car, dealing with debt collectors, or making credit decisions, as well as their legal rights and remedies, and strategies to promote financial literacy and capability.

Issuance of the Staff Perspective coincides with Four Chaplains Day. On February 3, 1943, four U.S. Army Chaplains gave their lives to save other servicemembers when their ship, the SS Dorchester, sunk in the North Atlantic.

“We honor servicemembers, veterans and military families who make sacrifices for all Americans,” said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “They face unique financial challenges and the Staff Perspective we are releasing today will help them overcome these challenges.”

The FTC Staff Perspective summarizes key takeaways from a workshop the agency held in July 2017 on military consumer financial protection, which brought together military consumer advocates, consumer groups, government representatives (local, state, and federal), military legal services and legal clinics, and industry representatives.

The Staff Perspective notes that panelists at the workshop discussed how servicemembers face a number of challenges in auto transactions – particularly when buying or leasing a vehicle for the first time. It also describes the unique issues that servicemembers face if they fall behind on their financing payments and have to deal with debt collectors. In addition, the Staff Perspective refers to the challenges and potential resources available to military consumers who need to make decisions about credit. It also discusses the rights and remedies that are available to military consumers in making financial decisions, and emphasizes how financial education early and often, adapted to the military life cycle, is crucial.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).