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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32354
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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Hello - Sorry it is wordy but it is a little complex; For

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Hello - Sorry it is wordy but it is a little complex;

For some time a young man, 19 years old, who is the son of my stepdaughters’ fiancé came to live with us because he apparently was forced out of his mothers’ own home. The young man found employment and had started working for a number of months when he approached my wife for assistance in getting a TV in his room. My wife went with him to Rent-A-Center to help with what was needed to get him set up with a television. She was assured that she was signing as a cosigner on the rental. The young man wound up with a 40 or 42 inch flat screen television from Rent-A-Center to which he diligently made bi-weekly payments.
After he had the television for a while he wound up with a larger 50 inch television in his room. I asked him what was going on and he informed me that the rental was too expensive and that he returned it and was able to get the new television through his sister at a lower cost. He later showed up with an even larger 60 inch smart television and, as a result of that, my wife told him that he needed to pay rent for his room (only $20 a week). He and the television disappeared from my residence right after that on June 4, 2013 not to be heard from since.
We started getting phone calls from Rent-A-Center requesting payments and after much back and forth and going to the storefront I found out that I and my wife were the renters of a 60” plasma television and a Play-station 3 video game set for a total of $3,650(ref: agreement number 48632174). I wound up paying $335 the other day in order to ‘insure that Rent-A-Center would back me on any charges we made on the young man’, as I was told, however it feels more like extortion or blackmail. We opened a police report on the situation against the young man which we are now awaiting a detective to contact us.
My question is “How could we wind up being responsible for something we never knew about, approve of, or even sign for?” Also the Delivery Checklist sheet has no entries on it by the customer other than the young man’s signature for the customer’s signature entry.
Yesterday we were informed by Rent A Center that the District Manager said we are responsible to pay it all!

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

Do you have a copy of the contract that your wife originally co-signed?

Customer:

No, They did not surrender it when I asked for it directly nor did they provide her a copy when she signed.

JD 1992 :

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.

JD 1992 :

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.

JD 1992 :

So your question: “How could we wind up being responsible for something we never knew about, approve of, or even sign for?”

JD 1992 :

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.

Customer:

This money was put towards the back rental on the electronics.

Customer:

It was just worded as I mentioned.

JD 1992 :

I assumed that is what they were using it for but it shouldn't have been phrased that way.

Customer:

Ok then I must demand a copy of the origional contract or I will not pay another penny.

JD 1992 :

Them not giving you a copy of the contract doesn't release you from an obligation to pay, unfortunately.

JD 1992 :

You certainly can ask for it, but when they refuse go to a lawyer and let them handle it from that point on.

JD 1992 :

You actually should go ahead and let the lawyer make the request now.

JD 1992 :

But most people want to give it a shot themselves first.

Customer:

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.

JD 1992 :

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.

Customer:

If he was the renter then why is our name on the agreement I have seen?

Customer:

Who was the renter?

JD 1992 :

It depends on where your wife signed and how it was designated on the contract.

Customer:

Ok

Customer:

Thanks

JD 1992 :

You're welcome!

Dwayne B. and 2 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.

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