Briggs v. United States & Army & Air Force Exchange Service
In this class action lawsuit, Public Citizen represented a nationwide class of soldiers and veterans who used credit cards issued by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, a quasi-government agency. AAFES’s credit cards are used by military personnel to buy uniforms and make other purchases at stores on military bases. The suit allegeed that the soldiers and veterans were subjected to illegal collection practices arising out of AAFES’s use of administrative offset – a procedure whereby federal payments, such as social security, veterans’ benefits, and tax refunds are withheld to collect debt. AAFES used the procedure to collect olds debts, in violation of a strict time bar under federal law. The federal district court certified a nationwide class, ruled that AAFES’s practices violated federal law, and approved a nationwide settlement under which class members received a refund of improperly withheld funds.