The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act).

The CFPBs mission is to safeguard consumers. One entity of the CFPB, the Office of servicemember Affairs, is specifically designed to anticipate and address consumer protection issues unique to the military. The Office of servicemember Affairs provides information in regard to planning for the future as well as protecting ones finances in certain situations unique to servicemembers, retirees, veterans and Family members.

If you feel you have been the victim of unfair, deceptive, or abusive trade practices, the CFPB provides a forum for submitting your complaint to their agency online. A consumer is able to submit a complaint in regard to their mortgage, credit card, bank account or service, vehicle loan, consumer loan, student loan or in regard to credit reporting.

When filing a complaint, you will be asked to describe the situation, as well as tell the CFPB your desired outcome. Once the complaint is filed, there is an option to track the status of your complaint online.

As a servicemember, it is imperative to protect yourself as the Uniform Code of Military Justice contains provisions in regard to responsible finances. The majority of lenders are aware of these requirements and certain lenders may use these as a way to gain leverage in a dispute over a debt. Moreover, debt can become an issue when trying to obtain or maintain a security clearance.

The CFPB has issued a specific warning in regard to veteran affairs benefits.

According to the CFPB, the VA does not generally solicit military personnel directly to urge qualified persons to use their VA benefits. Rather, unauthorized individuals may use VA benefits as a ruse to gain access to your personal and financial information. The CFPB recommends accessing your VA benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. A link to the Veterans Affairs website is available via the CFPBs website.

The CFPB also offers information on paying off student loan debt as well as information on a servicemembers rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. SCRA benefits apply to both federal and private loans procured before entry onto active-duty military service. All of the above mentioned information and much more regarding consumer protection, is available via the CFPBs website at www.consumerfinance.gov.

If you have consumer protection concerns, you can also contact the XVIII Airborne Corps Legal Assistance Office at 396-0396 or 6113. The office is located on the first floor of the Soldier Support Center in Wing D and is open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;, on Wednesdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m.; and on Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/osja/Pages/LegalAssistance.aspx.