Making Justice RealThe Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Lending Practices Exposed: USA Discounters Closes Its Doors
After nearly 20 years of selling overpriced electronics, appliances, and furniture, USA Discounters will soon close all 24 of its stores. The closures follow ProPublica’s investigation into the company’s lending practices, as well as government investigations and Department of Defense actions. The ProPublica investigation revealed how the company “guaranteed credit to service members for items that sometimes sold for two to three times the typical retail prices.” If a service member defaulted on the loan, USA Discounters sued the service member in Virginia state court, regardless of the state in which the item was purchased or where the service member lived. USA Discounters brought nearly 13,000 lawsuits in Virginia courts, seizing the pay of active-duty military members through default judgments.
In April of this year, Legal Aid alongside Tycko & Zavareei, LLP filed a class action lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court against USA Discounters, alleging that the company’s high-interest loans on high-cost furniture and electronics violated usury laws and laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive sales practices.
As the seven remaining USA Discounters stores slowly go out of business, liquidating items, customers can finally get the discounts that they’ve always wanted.