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USA Discounters Ordered to Stop ‘Scams,’ Fined $50K

The federal government has ordered a chain of 31 furniture and appliance stores located near military bases to stop what it claims are misleading and deceptive sales practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Thursday that it had fined USA Discounters Ltd. $50,000 for tricking thousands of military customers into paying fees for legal protections they already had and for services it did not provide. “Targeting service members with scams disguised as legal benefits is unconscionable, and we will not allow this injustice to continue,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray in a statement. The privately held company based in Norfolk, Virginia, was also ordered to refund more than $350,000 to military customers. USA Discounters said it fully cooperated with the CFPB’s investigation. Company Vice President Timothy Dorsey said he “strongly” objected to the government’s use of the words “scammed” or “tricked” to characterize its business practices. In a statement, Dorsey said the company “made absolutely no profit, and in fact lost money, in connection with the fees in question.”

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— Herb Weisbaum, NBC News contributor