Diana B. Henriques of the NYT had an alarming post regarding creditors foreclosing mortgages or repossessing family automobiles from American service members heading off to war.
With all that a service member has to deal with in getting ready to deploy, Congress has passed a law that is supposed to protect military members serving their country.
"...The law, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, protects all active-duty military families from foreclosures, evictions and other financial consequences of military service. The Supreme Court has ruled that its provisions must 'be liberally construed to protect those who have been obliged to drop their own affairs to take up the burdens of the nation.'"
...Unfortunately, too many lenders, debt collectors, landlords, lawyers and judges are unaware of the federal statute or do not fully understand it."
The article lists specific cases (some involving prominent lenders such as Wells Fargo and Citigroup) where dozens of returning service members found their possessions illegally seized and sold by creditors.
What's more, the burden of proof lies with the servicemember who
"...must notify their creditors or landlords of their military status to invoke their rights under the act. It is one more chore for a soldier getting ready for overseas duty, and it often does not get done properly."
Something more needs to be done. I admit, the deployment line should have a checklist for members to notify creditors of military status prior to deployment (just like dependent care is handled). We owe it to our service men and women to ensure all personal affairs are in order prior to departure (or when the member is the deployment window) and not leave the burden on the spouse.
Then the bulk of the burden shifts to the creditors who must comply with the law. Heavy fines need to be assessed on creditors who disregard the law...that is one way to get their attention.
Clearly more needs to be done.