Retailer must forgive debt, offer refunds to some military customers
Posted December 18, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — More than 300 customers in North Carolina will get debt forgiven or refunds on purchases made at a furniture retailer that Attorney General Roy Cooper accuses of unfair practices, his office said Thursday.
Cooper joined the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in filing a complaint and judgment in federal court against Freedom Furniture, Inc., Freedom Acceptance Corporation (FAC), Military Credit Services, LLC (MCS) and owners John F. Melley and Leonard B. Melley, Jr. for violations of state and federal laws on credit and debt collection.
Freedom Furniture & Electronics has 14 locations nationwide, including one in Fayetteville on Yadkin Road. FAC and MCS offer credit and collect on debts for purchases at Freedom Furniture stores.
“Military servicemembers work hard to protect our country, but unfortunately their steady paychecks can make them targets for shady practices,” Cooper said. “We won’t tolerate unscrupulous businesses that take advantage of military consumers in North Carolina.”
The judgment requires that the three companies pay more than $2.5 million in debt forgiveness and refunds and an additional $100,000 in fines.
The North Carolina customers will share $234,000 in refunds and debt forgiveness.
Freedom Furniture is not the only Fayetteville retailer drawing complaints. In November, WRAL Investigates reported on a company called USA Living (formerly called USA Discounters) which advertised easy credit and automated payment plans to members of the military, then sued those that couldn't pay.