Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Watershed Development Corp., also doing business as Watershed and Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership, FTC File No. 1123151
I’m an Aaron’s customer and would like you to know that I rented a computer and big screen with an entertainment center. I was fully informed that they had the ability to install software if I did not return the item. I was skeptical when I heard the news last year that I was being spied on. I called the store and they assured me that no spying software was installed. I even called the software vendor and they told me the same thing. The computer however did tell me every time I turned it on that Aaron’s owned it and that I could be tracked. But, after a few months, I asked them to remove the message as I was aware and agreed to it and it was annoying. So they removed it at my request. I asked them if they would remove the spy software as I didn’t want my children being subject to having pictures taken. They assured me that NO such software was loaded, this is why I called the software vendor as stated earlier. They also informed me that they were bound by contract to remove the software once I owned it and that the monitoring was restricted and could only be installed when the computer was stolen. Since I’m a single mom and I needed the computer for school, I had no choice but to believe them and thank god I did. A few weeks later I came home after work and discovered my apartment had been robbed. My entertainment center, TV, and laptop had been taken. I called the police and filed a report. I took the report to Aaron’s thinking I would not have to pay for it. However, they refused to accept the police report because there was no visible sign of forced entry. They informed me that I still had to pay for the items which were over $7,000 and I also had to make my monthly payment which was now due. I was devastated and could NOT afford to replace it and paying for it was painful. That night my 6 year old cried herself to sleep not understanding why someone would take our TV. Over the next several days, I called the police and they said they had very little to go on and basically not to hold my breath on ever getting it back. I called a friend for legal advice and she said that I was bond by the rental contract and had to still pay for the items. Then about 2 weeks later, the Aaron’s store called me and asked me to come in. They showed me a picture that they got from the webcam of the person using my computer and wanted to know if I could identify him. I took one look and said yes, it’s my ex-boyfriend. Needless to say we called the police and I got my stuff back. I was so happy that my daughter and I brought the store donuts and thanked them for saving me thousands of dollars. I will never rent another item without this software loaded.