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Do you have a copy of the contract that your wife originally co-signed?
No, They did not surrender it when I asked for it directly nor did they provide her a copy when she signed.
My guess is that they are taking the position that their contract allows for the renter to upgrade or add new equipment without having to do a new contract. I've seen a number of contracts in Texas that allow for that to happen. I hope that your wife read it carefully but I suspect that even if she did she probably missed that section.
You should not have had to pay Rent a Center anything so they would "back you on the charges" and that in itself could be illegal so you will want to mention that to the police.
So your question: “How could we wind up being responsible for something we never knew about, approve of, or even sign for?”
The answer is that the contract almost certainly allows for this to happen, with the exception of you having to pay them the money to back you in your claim.
This money was put towards the back rental on the electronics.
It was just worded as I mentioned.
I assumed that is what they were using it for but it shouldn't have been phrased that way.
Ok then I must demand a copy of the origional contract or I will not pay another penny.
Them not giving you a copy of the contract doesn't release you from an obligation to pay, unfortunately.
You certainly can ask for it, but when they refuse go to a lawyer and let them handle it from that point on.
You actually should go ahead and let the lawyer make the request now.
But most people want to give it a shot themselves first.
I will give it another try or I even may contact a local television consumer advocate and see what they may offer. My problem is my income is the only income that supports my houshold and supports my step daugters' and grandkids household.
I understand, and I hope I am wrong, but every contract I have looked at from the rental places provides that the renter can upgrade without doing a new contract. The reason is that they don't want to hassle with the new paperwork and be responsible for having to find a bunch of contracts if something goes wrong.
If he was the renter then why is our name on the agreement I have seen?
Who was the renter?
It depends on where your wife signed and how it was designated on the contract.
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