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Rent-A-Center Dispute Headed to Arbitration

Wednesday, September, 21, 2016

The lawsuit filed against retailer Rent-A-Center in connection with a dispute between an employee of the company and two customers will now proceed to arbitration. The decision was made by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth District of Texas at Beaumont, which overturned an existing order denying Rent-A-Center’s motion to compel arbitration.

The lawsuit was filed by husband and wife customers Patricia and David Bell and includes claims of trespass, assault, and intentional inflection of emotional distress by an employee of the company. The Bells claim an employee of the company came to their home in December 2014 in order to take photos of furniture rented from the company. Rent-A-Center had made claims the customers had not made payments on the items. The dispute began when the employee refused to leave the home without the furniture, even after the Bells requested he do so.

According to the claim, the employee pushed Patricia Bell, which led to non-specified injuries, at which point David Bell escorted the employee from their home and contacted the police. The Bells also claim Rent-A-Center violated section 9.609 of the Texas Business and Commercial Code.

Debate over how the incident and the resulting lawsuit continued for several months, with the Bells arguing that intentional torts, such as the injuries related to the assault, are usually not part of arbitration agreements and should not be handled in the same way as a typical business dispute.

Despite the Bells’ claims of inappropriateness, the dispute will now proceed to arbitration.