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Report: #185190

Complaint Review: AAFES - Dallas Texas

  • Submitted: Thu, April 06, 2006
  • Updated: Tue, March 18, 2008
  • Reported By: Viernheim Other
    Dallas Texas
    Dallas, Texas

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To all AAFES patrons. I am an AAFES employee and would like to clarify some points regarding the "Benefit" you are receiving.

While AAFES would like you to believe they are working only to direct their profits to MWR programs, it is a falsehood. A few months ago a company email outlined the BONUS program for managers and associates. If the bottom line was increased by a certain percentage for the fiscal year managers would receive a sizeable bonus and ALL associates would receive $100.00. AAFES proudly states it employees over 50,000 associates worldwide. Simply discounting the bonuses (as the amount varies by manager and is unknown) this $100.00 employee stipend amounts to $5,000,00.00 - Is this where you, the military consumer, want your hard earned dollars to be directed? How do "bonuses" benefit MWR programs? Another AAFES lie to its patron.

I've also viewed other posts on this website regarding "price matching" policy. I challenge you to get a manager to match prices with a local competitor. Internally AAFES trains its associates that the advertised item must be EXACTLY the same item, model number etc for a price to be matched. Additionally, shop at one AAFES store and you will find a price or discount for a particular item - go to another (even one very close by) and you will likely find a higher price or no discount. When you insist that prices are supposed to be UNIFORM and ask for the lower price you will likely find the manager refusing with a lame excuse such as "Oh that must be a manager's special for their store, we don't match that price here."

If you are overseas don't expect to find sale items in the store at the time of the sale. MOST likely 25% of advertised items that are on sale for a limited time period are not shipped, never ordered or do not arrive before the sale closes. While AAFES spends MILLIONS publishing the sale flyer, they cannot manage their own business well enough to schedule shipping or merchandise arrival in a timely manner.

Welcome to AAFES. A world of lies, deceipt, corruption and consumer ripoffs. Easy to target AAFES consumers as they cannot be sued in court.


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#1 Consumer Comment

Double Jeopardy is in the eyes of the beholder

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

You can research on Google about double jeopardy for shoplifting and the actual cases may or may not be available to you through a Pacer search. While the law is supposed to be open to the public, it is difficult for the public to follow the "low of a case" through the courts to its final adjudication. However, the opinion of the Appeals cases should be available to the public even if the opinions aren't published.

The concept of double jeopardy is to prevent multiple government punishments for the same event. To demand $200 from the troops while at the same time sending the troops or their adult dependents, as the case may be, to the federal magistrate courts to defend against a charge of larceny under federal law looks like legalized extortion because there is no due process of law protection available for the DOD civil demand that is called an Administrative Fee under DOD policy, and that is rationalized as a debt under a Treasury Debt-Collection amendment to Treasury Law that was slipped into law. There is no published standard for the debt of civil recovery for shoplifting in federal law or in the UCMJ. There was no notification in the Federal Register and there was no condification of the abstruse amendment to Treasury Law that produced a standard for the debt.

The States who have enacted Civil Recovery Statutes provide the opportunity under the law to defend against a Civil Demand in a Court of Law. While this is just a pretense, at least this option is available to those suspected shoplifters who receive civil demand letters from the retailers under law passed by the States, whether or not they are also, at the same time, ticketed for larceny shoplifting---depending upon the policy of the retailer.

When you realize that shoplifting is treated as larceny under both federal and USMJ criminal law, you understand that DOD scheme for Civil Recovery would require the suspects to be "ticketed" for larceny shoplifting and sent to the Federal Magistrate Courts to plea bargain against a charge of larceny.

This would require then that it also be legal under federal law to actually prosecute a "first offender" for larceny even when the offender had already paid the $200 to the government retail store as an Administrative Fee for shoplifting because the federal government could not be party to "schemes" outside of the law.

This is why I find the published opinion of the Magistrate Judge so troubling. It is an agency of the government of the United States and the law of the United States Government that has made both of these actions possible -----and why isn't this double jeopardy if appeals courts have ruled that it is double jeopardy under state laws?
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

A couple of comments

AUTHOR: Me - (U.S.A.)

First I was employed by AAFES at the time the original report was filed. If I remember correctly the sales figure which had to be hit to get the Bonus was somewhere in the area of 9 BILLION (Yes that's with 9 zero's) dollars.

Considering the fact that most AAFES employees get no employee discount, pay at the bottom of the prevailing wages in the area, managers usually work lots of overtime but only get paid for 40 hours and a whole host of other things that can make the job seem less than rewarding I don't think that trying to motivate them to increase earnings with a bonus is such a horrible idea.

Second, concerning Carol's comments about Civil Recovery being double Jeopardy. The criminal aspects were handled through the court but we did not ANY court ordered restitution. None of the fines or fees collected by the courts for shoplifting cases were returned to AAFES. The civil recovery fee was charged by AAFES to help to offset direct costs incurred due to and in the prevention of shoplifting.

I can tell you that the total amount of civil recovery collected probably does not even cover the cost of employing the loss prevention team throughout the year. Add on the amount of loss due to shoplifters that don't get caught and Loss Prevention is still not a for profit department.

Carol, you mentioned two state appellate courts who have found Civil Recovery to be Double Jeopardy. Can you provide information regarding these (ie States, Case Numbers, Where I could find more info?) I'm very interested in seeing how those cases were presented. Generally civil recovery is separate from Criminal Cases. the best analogy I was ever given was O.J. Simpson, he was not guilty in the criminal case but lost the civil suit for wrongful death. They really are separate issues and even if O.J had been convicted in the Criminal Case he still could have been sued in a Civil Court.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Magistrate Court Decision is troubling

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Hi Vernheim!

Nice to talk to you again. I find the Magistrate Court Decision very troubling.

If two State Appeals Courts have ruled that you can't prosecute a defendant for shoplifting if the defendant has already paid a civil recovery demand to the retailer on the basis that it is double jeopardy ----and it is double jeopardy because it is the State who has made both fines, civil recoveries, or punishments possible for the same event. (The Corporations play the "double jeopardy" game to their advantage all the time and it is good to know that two of the Appeals Courts recognize that "individuals" should be treated equally under the law.

AAFES merchandise has already been found to be "government property" in case law and the AAFES is part of the federal government and thus it is double jeopardy for the troops who are paying two fines to the government here in the United States -- one to the government store who sells government merchandise to the troops and one to the federal magistrate courts who are part of the government of the United States.

Did you notice that the Magistrate Judge was from Maryland ---The Defense Logistics Agency who lets the contracts is from Maryland, and the Congressman who slipped the amendment to Treasury law that made the DOD policy concerning shoplifting possible is also from Maryland. Maryland ---Oh, Maryland!

The government does have moral and good active duty personnel who deserve moral and legal policy decisions from their leaders --in my opinion, Vernheim!

Best regards!

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#4 Author of original report

Don't the American Taxpayers

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Don't the American Taxpayers deserve to have "troops" who are of high moral standard and do not spend their time shoplifting.

Your position, as it has always been, is puzzling. I suspect you or someone you know has paid this fee and this is simply grandstanding as you feel slighted.

Get over it. Upheld by a Federal is not going away.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Civil Recovery and Criminal Prosecution may be Unconstitutional

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Two of the State Appellate Courts have ruled that defendants may not be prosectuted for larceny if they have paid a Civil Recovery to the Retailer, apparently because this constitutes double jeopardy.

However, a Federal Magistrate Judge, as posted on the Internet soon after the DOD implemented its $200 Administrative Civil Recovery "debt" in government retail stores, has indicated that the payment of the civil recovery to the government retail store and the prosecution of the active duty offender or his dependent in the Federal Magistrate Court is not double jeopardy. This judge upheld the prosecution and restitution to be paid by the defendant in the Federal Magistrate Court who had already paid a Civil Recovery "Debt?" of $200 to the Government Exchange Store.

This "debt" of $200 was never codified in rule or law and is a result of policy developed from the abstruse amendment to Treasury Law that was slipped into the 2001 Defense Appropriations Bill as a gift to the Debt Collection and Private Security Contractors who would receive lucrative contracts to act as secret police in government retail stores and to collect the "debts" from the troops.

Don't our troops deserve better!
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Is $200% Administrative Fee for Shoplifting LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

The Appelate Courts in Montana and Nebraska, have held that if the store seeks a civil penalty and a criminal prosecution, and the suspect has, in fact paid the "civil demand", then double jeopardy applies and he cannot be criminally prosecuted."

While the AAFES Civil Demand is collected under the premise that it is a legal debt owned to the AAFES (which, I submit it is not), the courts and the fine-minded judges in these two states recognize that it would be double jeopardy to apply both a civil sanction and a criminal prosecution to the incident.

Why are our troops and their families being punished more greatly by our government than civiolians in the civilian community. Wasn't this $200 Civil Administrative Fee that was "slipped" into law through the back door of the Congress and by the means of an amendment to Treasury Law that was never codified in rule or regulation just PORK for the debt collection and the security contractors?
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#7 Consumer Comment

AAFES - US Military

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

I agree with the writer who is an employee of AAFES that AAFES and its corporate culture tends to perpetuate rip-offs of the troops. The bonus for the managers and the employees is just one example of how AAFES has strayed from its original purpose and mission of serving the troops under the doctrine developed by the Congress and the DOD to provide Morale, Welfare, and Recreation for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Lucrative contracts for its vendors and large salaries and bonus money for AAFES management personnel is not the mission of the AAFES as designed by Congress, we hope! .

In 2002 the AAFES developed policy from an abstruse and ambiguous congressional amendment to Treasury Law (quietly and unnoticeably placed in The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002) to letter demand $200 Administrative Fees from military sponsors when either they or their sponsored dependents, as the case may be, are investigated and/or charged with larceny on Base Traffic Tickets. Even those AAFES patrons who are guilty of only mistake, negligence, or inadvertence are generally presumed to be guilty of the criminal intent to steal when they pass final AAFES checkouts without paying for merchandise, and are ticketed for larceny and are required to report to the federal magistrate courts to plead their cases.

The DOD/AAFES employ secret retail police and secret video surveillance and secret detection devices in the merchandise NOT for rhe purpose of PREVENTING shoplifting within the stores but for the purpose of ticketing suspects for "larceny" on base traffic tickets after they are permitted and allowed to carry merchandise past the final checkout points without making payment for the merchandise, and without being asked to make payment for the merchandise. The children, of course, are not ticketed but the sponsoring parent will receive a demand for $200 for the offense of a child as young as ten under this new AAFES policy adopted just before the start of the war in March of 2002.

There is, of course, no actual loss to the AAFES stores in 99% of the apprehensions outside of final checkouts and the AAFES rationalizes the $200 demand as a deterrent to any second attempt to steal. However, the AAFES makes no attempt to deter FIRST attempts to shoplift through posted warnings of the criminal and civil fines and the criminal consequences of shoplifting in AAFES stores ----or through warnings about the secret retail police and the secret detection devices in the merchandise and the secret video surveillance cameras.

The AAFES claims that the $200 represents the actual Administrative Costs of the arrest and detention but most of the states of The United States have a much lower "minimum" civil recovery fee than the Administrative Fee that the AAFES demands from US military personnel. AAFES developed policy to demand the HIGHEST minimum civil recovery fee of $200 as statutorily allowed in just a few states like Florida and Washington ----instead of the lowest or even an average minimum civil recovery demand as statutorily allowed in most of The United States. In some jurisdictions of the United States, apprenended shoplifters pay only a civil fine and the retailers don't initiate a criminal prosecution. In the States, the civil demand letter is sent under THREAT of prosecuting the matter in the civil courts unless the civil demand is satisfied within a certin time period.

The $200 Administrative Fee for Shoplifting established by AAFES was not statutorily prescribed by The Congress but was set by policy of the AAFES, as approved by the DOD, I assume. The AAFES can't threaten to prosecute AAFES patrons under a civil statute describing the tort of shoplifting because there is no federal statute for shoplifting. I can't find any written standard for the "debt" of civil recovery in the federal law or the UCMJ either.

Apparently, The AAFES convinced the military authorities to remove "first offense" shoplifting from the jurisdiction of the Commanders and the UCMJ in order to demand this $200 Administrative Fee from active duty military personnel (who are now ticketed and sent to the federal magistrate courts)

I believe that this somewhat new policy of the AAFES is a disgraceful RIP-OFF of military personnel but the DOD advises me through its Policy and Oversight, DIG Inspector General that "should you wish to have the statute changed or amended, you should contact your elected Members of Congress and request they they consider such legislation. Further review of the matter by this Agency is not warranted."

SO -- Any of you AAFES patrons who are reading this. If you think this policy of AAFES is wrong and unconstitutional and kind of legalized extortion WRITE TO YOUR ELECTED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TODAY and complain about this latest RIP-OFF of the troops by the AAFES, the government retail stores.


A Concerned Wife of a retired member of the Army. May God Bless You and Keep you!
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