Members of the military submit debt collector complaints at twice the rate of civilians, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The agency is charged with monitoring complaints from those in the military. Debt collection, mortgages and credit reporting were subject of most complaints, according to a CFPB report released Tuesday.
“Those who serve, or have served, our country should not have to worry about falling victim to unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices,” Holly Petraeus, assistant director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs, wrote in a message at the front of the report.
Some of the complaints stem from a lifestyle peculiar to the military, stemming, for example, from time away for deployments or frequent moves from one base to another.
While the higher rate of complaints “could be due to a variety of factors,” Petraeus said one issue “is the concern that unpaid debts can threaten a military career. Because of this, we encourage all service members to diligently check their credit reports and proactively protect their credit files while they are away from home.”
The complaints concern disputes over money owed, debt collector calls to commanding officers and threats against security clearances held by service members. Veterans also complain of bill collectors trying to collect on medical bills that should have been covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The complaints highlighted in the CFPB report “show that members of the military continue to have serious problems when it comes to debt collection,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The Bureau will continue to closely monitor complaints from service members to ensure our brave men and women are getting the protection they deserve.”