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Hearing discusses car dealer abuse of servicemen

Aug 09, 2011 Brian Bradley

As a result of the growing auto financing issues facing U.S. military members, the Federal Trade Commission held a hearing this week in San Antonio, Texas, in an attempt to rectify the concerns, iWatch News reports. Dealers tend to target members of the armed forces - specifically the younger, less informed ones - because of the guaranteed salary that they will be paid twice a month. Panelists at the discussion pointed out instances where service members were manipulated into buying nearly expired warranties or overcharged for add-ons. Holly Petreaus, assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, pointed out a particular incident in which a dealer provided a service member with a free ride to a sales lot, only to become conveniently unavailable to provide a ride back. The victim was forced to purchase a vehicle to get back to base. The Austin-American Statesman adds that the residual effects from a young service member falling victim to a bad auto loan can result in stress that may affect "military readiness," the Center for Public Integrity said in a statement quoted by the news source. In addition, members' security clearances are put at risk if their credit scores are tarnished.