It’s critical to verify a client or tenant’s military status before moving forward with any claims against them. Active duty military members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and you must follow certain procedures when you launch court actions against them. Failure to adhere to these rules and regulations can result in fines, penalties and even jail time. The Department of Justice has filed suit against a number of prominent banks and lenders, settling cases for tens of millions of dollars.
Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense. Read on to get the information you need so you do not find yourself in the position of having to put up a defense of your actions in a court of law.
What Is the SCRA?
The SCRA is a federal law that extends protections and benefits to military members. Generally speaking, these benefits cover active-duty military members.
One of the benefits this law provides to individuals in active duty military service is protections from default judgments without a court order. This means that if your client is behind on payments of most any kind — rent, mortgage, car loans, credit cards, etc. — you must get a court order before going to court. A 6 percent interest rate is also guaranteed to those in the service. Military members are required to ask for this rate by law, but in practice, institutions must offer these benefits even if clients don’t ask.
Many courts will not allow a case to move forward without documented information regarding military verification. But if they do and your client is active duty military, you are in violation of the SCRA.
The intent of the law is to allow members of the military time to respond to queries, given that they might be deployed and/or otherwise serving in defense of their country and unable to quickly address issues or make court appearances.
Do Regular Military Status Checks
Lenders, property managers and others who do business with military service members do not always have the information they need to know who is in the military. Thus, it is important to do verification checks to get up-to-date information before moving forward with court action.
Large-volume businesses such as used-car loan dealers and those that manage multiple properties with many tenants make this verification checks part of their regular routine. If you use the right service, such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, you can get a batch discount.
While a business or an individual can technically use the internet to search for the information they need through the Department of Defense, it is not easy to find. First, you must have your client’s Social Security number in order to get a verification. If you don’t have it, the verification is not guaranteed and will likely not be accepted by a court of law.
The Benefits of Using SCRACVS
When you use SCRACVS, you do not need a Social Security number for individual clients. We may be able to find the individual’s number through other means if you supply information such as name, date of birth, phone number, driver’s license number, etc. We also use information supplied by the Department of Defense, as well as other sources.
SCRACVS has been doing verifications for many years, and we have infinite experience with the Defense Department and all branches of military service. Therefore, we are able to obtain individual results for our clients much more quickly than they could get on their own — often within 24 hours. We deliver these results to your collection department’s inbox (encrypted, of course) so you can use the information and documentation you need to run your business safely, effectively and profitably.
Do your due diligence and check individual clients’ military service records. One misstep in this area can result in thousands — or even millions — in fines. Rely on SCRACVS to verify your clients’ active duty status.