Over 4,000 soldiers who financed a purchase from a Tennessee company through Rome Finance Company, Inc., will receive over $2 million in refunds in the coming months.
The State of Tennessee recently concluded its case against Rome Finance in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of California. In late 2008, Attorney General Cooper won a judgment against Rome in Montgomery County Circuit Court, with an award specially designated as soldier restitution. Rome filed for bankruptcy protection and a trustee was appointed to operate Rome. The money from this agreement will be added to monies previously received in 2010 through the agreed final judgment in this consumer protection case against North Carolina-based Britlee, Inc., and its owner and operator Stuart L. Jordan.
These two agreements will provide for over $2 million in soldier restitution and finally resolve the State's consumer protection lawsuit against Rome and Britlee. Restitution will be available for consumers who purchased goods such as laptop computers from Britlee or other Tennessee vendors and used Rome for their financing of the sales. As part of the agreements, the soldiers are allowed to keep their laptops and the companies are supposed to cancel any outstanding debts held by these soldiers.
"We hope this case serves as a reminder there are serious consequences for anyone else who would take advantage of the fine men and women serving our country in the armed forces," Attorney General Bob Cooper said. "We also want to remind our soldiers and their families to be sure to check their mail over the next several weeks for a letter on how to collect their checks."
"We are so pleased to finally be able to return this money to soldiers," said Director Gary Cordell of the Division of Consumer Affairs. "These soldiers have done so much for all of us, and now we are able to help them."
Restitution checks will be distributed on a rolling basis through the Division of Consumer Affairs, a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), after the State is able to verify addresses for these soldiers. In order to qualify as an eligible purchase, the purchase must have been financed by Rome Finance on or before December 31, 2006 and been made (1) in Tennessee, or (2) from a Tennessee vendor, or (3) by a Tennessee resident. Soldiers who meet these criteria should be on the lookout for a letter about this refund process (see example).
Anyone with questions about eligibility of the settlement or who want to verify their contact information can call the State’s settlement administrator at 1-888-880-8822. More information about this case can be found on the Attorney General's website at: http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/cases/britlee/britlee.html.