California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris reached a $28.4 million settlement with Aaron's Inc. on Monday, resolving allegations that America's second largest rent-to-own company violated the state's consumer protection and privacy laws.
Aaron's allegedly charged improper late fees, overcharged customers who paid off leases early and omitted contract disclosure. The company also allegedly permitted stores to install spyware on rental computers, which allowed the stores to monitor customer's keystrokes, capture screenshots, track the location of the device and turn on the webcams without the customer's knowledge or consent.
“Aaron’s concealed its illegal privacy and business practices from customers in a deceptive attempt to avoid California’s robust consumer protection laws and increase its profits,” Harris said. “This settlement provides millions of dollars in restitution to consumers and requires Aaron’s to make significant changes to its business practices.”
As part of the settlement, Aaron's will refund $25 million to approximately 100,000 California customers who signed leases between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2014. Aaron's will also be required to pay $3.4 million in penalties and fees.