McKenna files claim against Rent-A-Center

Ashley Stinnett Jul. 27, 2009, 3:36pm


SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna on Friday filed a lawsuit against Rent-A-Center for alleged consumer harassment and deceptive debt collection practices.

McKenna said Rent-A-Center has violated the state's Consumer Protection Act and Lease Purchase Agreements Act by repeatedly harassing consumers over the telephone, using profanity, showing up to customer's residence and claiming a false court order.

According to a sworn statement by Carol Hammons, a customer of Rent-A-Center, company employees showed up to her home and refused to leave after being warned.

The employees then distributed personal information about her family to other residents of the neighborhood.

In another sworn statement, a consumer alleged the company made repeated phone calls to the customer's home using profanity and threatening language. He said employees later arrived at his home and tried to kick his door in.

"While companies certainly have the right to collect on outstanding debts, state law, along with the most basic standards of common courtesy, dictate how companies may collect on those debts," McKenna said.

"Attempting to kick doors down, calling the debtor's friends and relatives, and scaring their children aren't included in those basic standards."

According to the complaint, Rent-A-Center has allegedly harassed consumers with repeated phone calls at home and work, repeated collection to third parties such as friends and relatives, used profanity while attempting to collect unpaid debt, pounded on consumers doors, revealed personal consumer information to third parties, using false threats of criminal arrest and claiming to have a court order when they did not.

McKenna said his office has also asked the court to force Rent-A-Center to hand over all documents outlining its collection practices and to stop engaging in unlawful conduct.

Texas-based Rent-A-Center has 50 stores located in Washington.

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