(DES MOINES, Iowa) Now that the New Year is here and so are holiday bills for thousands of Iowa National Guard members now serving in Afghanistan, Attorney General Tom Miller reminds all deployed service members and their families that he will assist them with the unique state and federal consumer laws that protect them during their deployment.
The Iowa National Guard Civil Relief Act, which largely mirrors the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), applies to National Guard members while on national duty. “These laws give extra protection to the home front of service members and their families, so they have less to worry about while these dedicated Iowans are deployed,” Miller said.
The federal laws and state laws and administrative rules provide special protections, including:
- Mortgage relief
- Protection from termination of leases
- Eviction protection
- A delay of legal proceedings (90-day minimum stay of proceedings)
- Protection and reopening of default judgments (pending a court order)
- 6 percent mortgage interest rate cap
- Protection from the disconnection of gas or electrical service
Miller reminds service members and their families of another federal protection called the Military Lending Act. The Military Lending Act, which also applies to National Guard members on national duty, limits interest rates on consumer credit extended to service members and their dependent families. The interest rate limit is set at 36 percent for payday loans, car title loans (which are illegal in Iowa), and refund anticipation loans made to military members and their dependents.
“Our office is here to assist service members and their families,” Miller said. “We are a source of information for consumer protection questions, and we can help if anyone tries to take advantage of our deployed men and women in uniform, or their families here in Iowa.”
Families of service members are urged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division with questions, concerns or complaints related to consumer protection issues and associated legal matters. Iowa families and even Iowa National Guard members deployed overseas can file complaints online at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov or contact the Attorney General’s office by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also call the Consumer Protection Division directly at 515-281-5926 or 1-888-777-4590.
“I want our men and women in uniform to know that we thank them for their service,” Miller said. “I also want them to know that we’re here to help them and their families while they focus on their deployment.”
# # #