Service Members and Veterans are Being Charged a Fee for Free Records
The Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and Montana National Guard are trying to protect military consumers from companies who charge a fee to acquire military personnel records. Master Sergeant Michael Touchette says service members and veterans may need to request records of their military service and several companies are taking advantage of that.
“They are acting as the intermediary between our former members and they advertise to go out and get their military record for them for a fee,” Touchette said. “It is capitalism in action. They say they will go get your record for you and you don’t have to do anything besides sign your form. Consumers can just call us and we would send them the same form to sign. We would give them their record free of charge.”
These companies claim to be “expeditors” who can speed up the process of acquiring your documents. They especially target consumers who are trying to obtain a DD214, which is a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. According to Touchette, it is really easy for folks to obtain records like these.
“You can call the administration here at Fort Harrison and talk to our retirement services people,” Touchette. “Call them up and request records. They will ask for an address and then they will send out the forms you need to sign. When you return those forms, we can get you the record you are entitled to.”
Touchette says he doesn’t know specifically, but he heard that these companies were potentially charging each consumer hundreds of dollars. Attorney General Tim Fox is reminding the public that these records are free to request, and cost nothing to acquire from the government.