This is from my own personal experience and from what has happened to fellow soldiers I knew. Ffor anyone not familiar with aafes, it is military operated retail stores that sell everything from baby diaper to uniforms (military clothing sales). Aas with most things government, they have harsh penalties and practices that any other civilian retail store would be sued out of business for. I would guess that aafes has the umbrella protection of the government so that is why they can make their own rules. If you are in the military or a government employee who shops aafes, please read the following so perhaps it won't happen to you.
Price gauging: While stationed in germany last year, I noticed the price of cigarettes and alcohol jumped higher. When I asked an employee about this, he leaned over and said "deployed troops are coming back, they want their profit they missed out on".
False accusations of shoplifting: While in I was in the PX (aafes, darmstadt germany) last year, I noticed a female soldier I knew and she seemed upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she had given her 4y.o. son a drink from the shelf because it was hot and he was thirsty. Later, as she paid for her purchases, she had forgotten the drink and was confronted by a px employee a foot after the counter. She was accused of shop lifting and held in front of the store for everyone to see for the MP's. Sshe and her son was taken to the mp station even though she tried to explain it was a mistake and offered to pay. The employee would hear nothing about it even though the MP agreed it was probably an honest mistake. She ended up having $150.00 deducted from her military pay as a fine (aafes can deduct military pay anytime they like) and was barred from that px.
Military star card: If you have this account, there are two things you need to do. 1- remove the card from your pocket and set it on fire. 2- in writing, close this account immediatly. I had this account with a $900 limit. I had purchased new uniforms adding up to around $450. my payments were on time until eight months later when i had to go to the field for 45 days. This made the payment late so aafes has a policy on late pays, they deduct the full amount from your pay....period.
When this happened, I tried to go to customer service for help but was instead handed a phone and told only the dalles office can help. after standing there about 45 minutes, I was finally told I still owed the debt! I tried to explain that they have already taken the full amount and i have kids to feed. Tthis fell on deaf ears and I was told I was scheduled to have it taken out again the next month! To be charged double payments or to have payments not accounted for is common practice with aafes. Don't bother to save your receipts, they dont care, aafes is never wrong.
The following month my pay was again deducted this amount. I tried to talk to my superiors and finiance section (they didn't give a rats a**). Twice they had taken this amount and then made a bad report on my credit with all three credit reporting agencies!!! I never recovered the extra payment but after writing some letters, I was able to remove the bad credit reports.
Bottom line is that these people know they are untouchable. I even tried to involve my congressman but he didn't seem interested in the subject. I made a BBB report but aafes would not respond to it. If I had an attorney, I would love to go to dallas and sue the bastards but again, they probably are immune from civil action.
The best way to deal with these guys is to not do business with them. Aaafes was a good idea that has turned into a profit machine. Nneeds of the military member and family are no longer a concern. I beleive they should have no more ability than any other retail store. Since they purposely take double payments from military pay, they are a threat to the quality of life of our military and should either be dissolved or give the contract to someone better like wal-mart. I urge you to not buy from aafes.
Purchase over the internet or do your local economy some good, shop downtown. By the way, they say the profits go to MWR (moral, welfare and recreation). This is suppose to better the military member with low or no cost activities. The only thing I ever seen purchased for mwr in my fifteen years of service was new weights for the gym. What the hell do I need with that crap! I get enough pt. How about something fun to do for the single soldiers or those with families instead. Where the hell is all this money going?
If you had a bad experience with the px or aafes, please tell your story. Don't let them get away with it!!! And stop spending your money there! Your local surplus store or internet uniform outlet can sell the same stuff.
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