Rent-to-own stores offer cash-strapped consumers the ability to take home a new refrigerator, living room furniture set and hundred of other items by allowing them to pay a little each month. But, as we’ve reported in the past, what seems like a convenient years-long payment plan often adds hundreds – even thousands – of dollars to the price tag of a product. To ensure potential customers of rent-to-own stores know what they’re getting into, our colleagues at Consumer Reports put together a helpful video spelling out the potential dangers of such retail models. [More]
In Sept. 2012, Aaron’s was one of several rent-to-own retailers caught using software to illegally snoop on customers who rented computers. Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Aaron’s has agreed to settle these charges and make sure franchisees cease the spying. [More]
For years, we’ve been warning consumers about rent-to-own electronics businesses because they usually end up costing customers a heck of a lot more money in the long term. Now there is another reason to avoid them: The Federal Trade Commission has caught seven rent-to-own companies installing tracking software on computers to do everything from tracking their locations to capturing screenshots of confidential info to secretly snapping photos of customers.
According to a recently filed lawsuit, a big rental chain installs physical hardware and software into its rented computers, capturing the keystrokes, screenshots, and even webcam images of unsuspecting customers. The only way to disable it is by waving an electronic “wand” over the device. The spyware was revealed when a store manager for the chain showed up at renter’s house to try to repossess the laptop and showed the renter a picture of him taken by the webcam, unbeknownst to him, by the leased laptop.