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Class Action Suit Targets Aaron’s for Spying

The familiar sign might mean you will bring home more than high priced rental furniture and used bedding... The company is being sued for spying.

Earlier this year, customers from around the country joined a class action lawsuit against Aaron’s for spying on them, using "spyware" that the company installed on personal computers they leased to customers.

SEI, the Aaron's franchise owner of the Niagara Falls' and other local stores, has been named specifically in the lawsuit.

The purpose of the software, known as "PC Rental Agent," was to give the company the ability to turn off the computers in the event a customer failed to pay. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, however, claim the software enabled Aaron's and SEI to view personal information, including activating their webcams and recording or photographing them in the privacy of their homes.

The suit alleges Aaron's and SEI used spyware on rented computers to send over 185,000 emails to the rental company, including customers' social security numbers, passwords and captured keystrokes, as well as turning on the webcams on the computers and taking pictures of their customers, which included pictures of nude children and people having sex, and sending these back to the company's corporate computers.

Aaron's, Inc., officials said the company had not installed the spyware, and that individual franchisees, like SEI, were responsible, despite the fact that the personal information was sent to Aaron's corporate headquarters.

On the heels of the class action lawsuit against Aaron’s, the Federal Trade Commission has said that spyware on rental computers is not allowed. The FTC ordered Aaron's and six other furniture rental companies to stop putting spyware on unsuspecting customers’ computers, and now require all furniture rental companies to get the customers' express consent to track and spy on them.

The chairman of the FTC, Jon Leibowitz, said that, "An agreement to rent a computer doesn’t give a company license to access consumers’ private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own homes."

According to the law firm of Herman, Herman and Katz, of New Orleans, who are representing Aaron's customers who rented computers and were allegedly potentially spied on, "They may still be spying on you! If you have rented a computer from Aaron’s or any of its franchises, contact us today! Our attorneys can help you determine if your privacy has been invaded and help get you the compensation you deserve.

"We can find out if you were spied on or are still being spied on!... Call one of our legal experts today 1-800-791-7599."



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

SEP 24, 2013