West Creek Financial, Inc. is staring down a proposed class action case filed by a New York consumer over the company’s allegedly “deceptive, unfair and deficient” rent-to-own agreements. According to the lawsuit, the rent-to-own agreements offered by the defendant overstep New York Personal Property Law and the state’s General Business Law.
The timeline of the plaintiff’s allegations kicks off in May 2017, when the man supposedly visited an Electronics for Best store in Jamaica, New York, looking to buy a laptop and stereo speakers. The plaintiff claims the salesperson at the store offered to sell him the items for $1,500, noting that financing was available. Under the financing terms, the suit says, the plaintiff would not have to pay any additional charges should he cover the full $1,500 within 90 days. Should he fail to pay the entire amount in 90 days, the plaintiff would have to pay interest on the unpaid balance until it was totally paid off, the case explains.
To proceed with the transaction, the plaintiff was reportedly told he needed to provide his driver’s license, which he says the salesperson photocopied. The plaintiff was then asked to sign the photocopy of his driver’s license, purportedly to verify his identity, and sign a receipt of merchandise document, according to the suit.
“[The plaintiff] did not sign any other documents of any kind,” the case points out.
The following day, the plaintiff returned to the store to pick up his items, at which time he did not have to sign any documents, the complaint reiterates.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff learned shortly thereafter that his bank account was being electronically debited $112.50 every two weeks by West Creek Financial. The man reportedly called the defendant in September and then October 2017 to ask about paying off his entire balance, to which he was told he would have to pay $2,700 in order to bring his account to zero.
After requesting a copy of his contract, the plaintiff was supposed faxed by West Creek Financial a “Lease Agreement with Ownership Option” that included a digital signature purporting to be his own. The plaintiff claims that at no time did he sign the document, digitally or otherwise, nor did he sign a digital pad for the purpose of having a digital image of his signature imposed onto the lease-to-own agreement. From the complaint:
“As set forth below, [the document] fails to comply with numerous aspects of New York law, and is materially deficient and unlawful, both in terms of its substantive terms and its disclosures to consumers of their rights, which not only fail to inform consumers of their rights and omit statutorily required information, but which affirmatively misstate consumer’s rights.”