Discount retailer USA Living out of business
Posted August 25, 2015
Updated August 26, 2015
USA Living, a discount retailer that was the subject of a WRAL Investigates story last fall because of multiple complaints about inflated pricing and aggressive debt collection, is no longer in business.
The company, formerly known as USA Discounters, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug, 24 in Delaware. In the filing, the company says it plans to use the time to wind down operations.
The company had locations nationwide, many near military bases such as Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, and catered to military families.
But customers complained that their contracts included exorbitant fees and finance charges. Chris Trill, a former staff sergeant at Fort Bragg, was one of those customers.
The $5,000 price tag for a sofa set, chair, TV and stand he bought from USA Living was already more than he wanted to pay. But the bottom line of his contract included thousands of dollars in fees and finance charges. By the time it was paid for, the furniture would ultimately cost him $10,513.88.
"They say, ‘We cater to military families.’ You know, ‘We love the military,’” Trill said in November.
USA Living would file lawsuits against customers, like Trill, who couldn’t pay. The lawsuits were filed in Virginia, where the company is headquartered. For many customers, it was impossible to get there. So, USA Living would win the right to garnish their pay.
"Is this the world we fought for? I mean, is this really what you fought for?” Trill said in November. “Everybody's scamming everybody. Everyone's trying to dip into your pockets for a little bit extra. It absolutely makes me sick!"
When WRAL News investigated USA Living last fall, the chief executive said the company was changing its collection practices. Nine months later, the stores are now closed. Showrooms, including one in Fayetteville, are empty.
On its website, USA Living says it's still collecting payments and taking warranty and customer service questions.
But that's not the end of the issues for USA Living. The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the company, and the attorney general of Colorado filed a lawsuit against them late last month.