With stores near military bases across the country, the retailer USA Discounters offers easy credit to service members. But when those loans go bad, the company uses the local courts near its Virginia headquarters to file suits by the thousands.
July 25, 2014 - Army Spc. Angel Aguirre needed a washer and dryer.
Money was tight, and neither Aguirre, 21, nor his wife had much credit history as they settled into life at Fort Carson in Colorado in 2010.
That's when he saw an ad for USA Discounters, guaranteeing loan approval for service members. In military newspapers and magazines, on the radio, and on TV, the Virginia-based company's ads shout, "NO CREDIT? NEED CREDIT? NO PROBLEM!" The store was only a few miles from Fort Carson.
"We ended up getting a computer, a TV, a ring, and a washer and dryer," Aguirre said. "The only thing I really wanted was a washer and dryer."
Aguirre later learned that USA Discounters' easy lending has a flip side. Should customers fall behind, the company transforms into an efficient collection operation. And this part of its business takes place not where customers bought their appliances, but in two local courthouses just a short drive from the company's Virginia Beach headquarters. read more>>>
07/25/14 - These days, it’s awfully difficult for major legislation on high-profile issues to generate broad, bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. The parties are usually too far apart to build consensus and strike deals.
But in mid-June, the Senate nevertheless came together to support a bipartisan veterans-aid package, written by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). There was some token opposition from the far-right, but they were easily outnumbered – the bill passed with a whopping 93 votes.
At the time, success seemed like a foregone conclusion. The VA scandal was literally front-page news and the demands for action were ubiquitous. When the Senate bill advanced on a 93-3 vote, many assumed the legislation would be on President Obama’s desk within a week.
That was six weeks ago. House Republicans now appear ready to kill the bill altogether. read more>>>