Recent Cases- Rent to Own Collection Practices
On May 14, 2013 we filed two lawsuits concerning the collection and repossession activities of two Rent-to-Own companies. The first of the two lawsuits alleges that, after a consumer had fallen behind on her monthly payments, the employees of a Rent-to-Own company came to the a consumer’s residence while her 15 year old daughter and 19 year old nephew were home alone. The complaint alleges that when the nephew refused to open the door, the representatives began to pound and bang on the door so loudly that the daughter and nephew were intimidated and the other residents of the apartment complex could hear the commotion and became aware of the outstanding debt. The complaint also alleges that, when the consumer’s nephew called his aunt to inquire about opening the door, she could hear the pounding through the phone lines. She immediately called the Rent-to-Own store and told them that she was not home and that the occupants of the apartment were children and were not allowed to open the door for anyone when she was not home. The complaint further alleges that , despite her requests, the Rent-to-Own employees refused to leave and continued to pound on the door. At one point, one of the Rent-to-Own employees used a racial epithet toward the nephew. Even after the Rent-To-Own employees left the apartment the consumer’s daughter was afraid to leave for fear that the representatives might be hiding and waiting for her to open the door. The second lawsuit alleges that, after falling behind on his Rent-to-Own payments, Rent-to-Own employees began visiting the Plaintiff’s residence. The lawsuit alleges that, on at least three occasions, the Rent-to-Own employees banged and kicked on his door repeatedly in an attempt to get an answer. The lawsuit further alleges that when the Plaintiff was not home, the Rent-to-Own employees would visit his neighbors and share information about the outstanding debt, and that, at one point, the Rent-to-Own employees told the Plaintiff’s neighbor that they were going to kick the Plaintiff’s door in if they didn’t speak with him. The complaint also alleges that the Rent-to-Own employees would call the Plaintiff’s ex-wife to discuss the debt. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the Plaintiff’s disabled sister was home alone on some of the occasions when the Rent-to-Own employees visited the residence. She became very frightened by their conduct and believed that someone was trying to break into the home.Both suits seek damages pursuant to the Connecticut Creditor’s Collection Practices Act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Connecticut Rent to Own Statute. Additionally, one of the lawsuits asserts claims for false imprisonment.
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