USA Discounters Shutters Stores : Military Connection

usadiscounter

By Debbie Gregory.

USA Discounters’ ads used to say, “Bad Credit? Slow Credit? No Credit? No Problem!” The company sought out service members and their families, placing their stores in close proximity to military bases. But the easy lending had a flip side. Customers who fell behind in their payment then had to deal with well-oiled collection operation. And this part of its business didn’t take place where customers bought their goods, but rather in two local courthouses just a short drive from the company’s Virginia Beach headquarters.

USA Discounters filed lawsuits against service members based anywhere in the world, no matter how much inconvenience or expense they would incur to attend a Virginia court date. Between 2006 and last July, USA Discounters had filed more than 13,000 suits in Virginia courts. More often than not (around 89 percent of the time) USA Discounters won, and seized the pay of more active-duty military than any company in the country.

The company sold everything from appliances to jewelry to computers, all at overly inflated prices. It was not unusual for a $650 laptop to end up costing closer to $3,000 after the markup, add-ons and finance charges.

Well, now the tables have turned, and it is time for this deceptive, unscrupulous company to pay the price. On August 26, 2015, USA Discounters filed for bankruptcy protection Monday after closing its last store. The company cited lower sales, “regulatory investigations and adverse media reports” in its bankruptcy filing as reasons for its collapse.

Yes, a class-action lawsuit alleging “unconscionable sales practices and usury,” a lawsuit filed by Colorado’s attorney general, and an investigation by North Carolina’s Attorney General doesn’t bode well for any company.And from where we sit, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving company.

If you didn’t believe in karma before, then this outcome might, perhaps, change your mind?

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

White House Ready to Sanction China Over Cyberthefts? Military Connection

White House Ready to Sanction China Over Cyberthefts?

By Debbie Gregory.

Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets made be feeling a financial pinch, as the White House prepares economic sanctions. Suspicions that Chinese hackers were behind a series of data breaches in the United States have been an irritant in relations between the world’s two largest economies.

According to several anonymous administration officials, the sanctions could be issued within the next few weeks, and would send a clear message that the rising wave of ­cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers will not be tolerated. Chinese theft of U.S. trade and commercial data has increased, despite a series of diplomatic warnings, so officials see no alternative to considering economic sanctions.

While the U.S. believes that China is, far and away, the most pervasive and persistent hacker, Russian cyber spies and criminals are generally more sophisticated, and have stepped up their actions, especially against American financial institutions amid tensions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The talk of sanctions comes just weeks before the arrival of Chinese president Xi Jinping for a state visit. Maritime skirmishes in the South China Sea and China’s efforts to devalue its currency in the face of its recent stock market plunge have added to the tensions. But the possibility of sanctions so close to Xi’s visit indicates how frustrated U.S. officials have become over the persistent cyber plundering.

With that said, the administration is well aware of China’s place as our second-largest trading partner, just behind Canada. China is also a major holder of U.S. Treasuries, and an important player in policies toward North Korea and Iran.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

An Alternative Therapy: Military Connection

Military Connection: whale shark

By Debbie Gregory.

As crazy as it sounds, swimming with the largest shark in the world is therapy for some Atlanta disabled veterans.

The Atlanta VA Medical Center’s recreational therapy program recently partnered with the Georgia Aquarium allowing disabled Veterans the chance to participate in the “Journey with Gentle Giants” dive immersion program.

Journey with Gentle Giants is the only opportunity in the world guaranteed to allow participants to swim or dive with whale sharks, zebra sharks, sawfish, leopard whiprays, bowmouth guitarfish, humphead wrasses, pompano and several species of rays. Whale sharks have very large mouths, but feed mainly on plankton, which is very good news to those who swim or dive alongside them! Whale sharks are generally considered harmless to humans. The exhibit contains 6.3 million gallons of water and ranges in depth from 20 to 33 feet deep.

As a thank you for their service and sacrifices, the Georgia Aquarium developed the Veterans Immersion Program in 2008 as a way to support the wounded heroes of our armed forces. The unique adjunctive therapy compliments current rehabilitation and reintegration programs. Participants challenge themselves with an experience outside their comfort zones, encounter enormous animals, and for some, relax and move in the water in ways they may not be able to on land.

Since its founding, the program has hosted more than 1,300 military personnel who have been physically, emotionally, or mentally wounded – injuries both seen and unseen. Participants of all abilities, from quadriplegia or amputations to post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries) are welcome 365 days a year to swim or dive.

These veterans are supported by Handicapped Scuba Certified Dive Masters and Instructors, led by a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.  Each member of the team is trained to safely lead disabled divers and swimmers.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.