Action 9: BBB cautions on pitfalls of leasing electronics, appliances

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With the Super Bowl more than a week away, people may have considered renting a big-screen television for the event. However, Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke cautions customers of leasing any electronics or appliances.

One couple spent months dealing with a problem. The Phifers remember it well. It was June and steamy.
 
“It was very hot,” said China Grove resident Traci Phifer. “110 in here.”     
 
They rented an A/C unit from Rent-A-Center in Mooresville. It may seem silly in January to talk about air conditioning, but that shows how long the Phifers’ problem dragged on.
 
“We heard a big pop sound and then a hissing and, all of a sudden, this fog started coming in here,” Traci Phifer said.
 
“A loud hissing noise, almost like a bang and (we) saw some fog-type mist come out of the front of the air conditioner,” said Billy Phifer.
 
The store gave them another on loan, and the Phifers kept checking to see if theirs was ready, but it wasn’t.
 
If you rent appliances or electronics, the Better Business Bureau said make sure to understand the contract terms, what happens when you miss a payment, the grace period for late payments, additional fees or penalties, what warranty – if any – the appliance comes with, what happens if the appliance breaks and whether the appliance is new or used.
 
Action 9 got in touch with the business and went back and forth between both sides multiple times.
 
The district manager promised to take care of the Phifers right away and offered them a variety of air conditioners to choose from.
 
Rent-A-Center is not Better Business Bureau accredited. The BBB gives it a C-plus rating and said it’s had about 1,200 complaints against the company nationally in the last three years.