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Pro Bono Attorney Helps Navy Servicemember Receive Favorable Settlement with Auto Finance Company

January 30, 2019

Before joining the Navy, a servicemember purchased a vehicle from a car dealership with a loan provided by an auto finance company. Initially, the interest rate of the loan was 24%; however, when the servicemember enlisted, he requested the loan be reduced to 6%, which is a relief listed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In violation of the SCRA, the auto finance company failed to take any actions, and it continued to charge the servicemember the original interest rate.

With concerns about his ability to pay the 24% interest rate, the Navy servicemember visited a military legal assistance office to discuss the situation. A JAG issued a demand letter to the auto finance company and subsequently entered negotiations with them; however, the auto finance company still failed to resolve the matter. The JAG then referred the case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which connected the servicemember with an attorney who offered to provide pro bono representation. With the volunteer attorney’s assistance, the servicemember and auto finance company entered into a settlement agreement, and the servicemember was released from his obligation to pay the remaining balance on the car loan.

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