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Marine Claims SCRA Violation by Auto Finance Co., Recovers Security Clearance with Pro Bono Help

April 10, 2017

A Marine purchased a vehicle prior to entry of active duty and financed it through an auto finance company. The servicemember originally set up automatic payments through his local bank account and, prior to leaving for boot camp, informed the finance company that he would start receiving his military salary from a military credit union and requested the discontinuation of the automatic payments from his local account. Nevertheless, the finance company did not stop the automatic payments and overdrafted the Marine’s original account. The servicemember then requested that the finance company reduce his interest rate to six percent, pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In response, however, the company repossessed his vehicle and sold it at an auction without a court order, also in violation of the SCRA. This repossession and collections process obstructed the Marine’s ability to acquire the computer access required for his military duties.

The servicemember’s military attorney attempted to contact the finance company on his behalf yet did not receive a response, so the ABA Military Pro Bono Project was able to quickly refer the Marine to an experienced pro bono attorney. This volunteer attorney was able to conduct extensive research on the matter, interview the Marine about his situation and correspond with the auto finance company on several occasions. The attorney’s efforts resulted in a successful resolution which included the elimination of the Marine’s debt, a commitment to clear up his credit history and an affidavit to obtain the security clearance the Marine needed to remain in the military and further his career.

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