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?