Almost everywhere you go, there is a rental company just waiting to give you some product at an “affordable” price. But are these prices actually affordable or are these companies preying off of their customers? While in most instances, we expect there to be a specific percentage of interest, it seems that Aaron’s has taken this to an extreme. Thanks to a current customer of “Aaron’s,” we will get to see just how extreme they are.
According to the individual, who we will identify as J., he was in the process of buying two items: a computer and an Xbox one. According to this individual, they had already placed over $700 into the Xbox alone, that got the expected reaction from us: This person was trying to get some clout, or were they? We decided to humor this and we looked for ourselves, this is what we found from Aaron’s own website:
The first payment for all of their Xboxes are $25.00, okay, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s pretty low. But that’s not where they nail you. The trick comes in the other payments. Let’s break it down by Xbox type as they have various versions.
XBox One X:
12 monthly payments of $129.99
At the end of the payment period, you would had spent a total of $1,559.88 for an Xbox.
The lowest payment available is for the XBox One S
12 monthly payments of 79.99 Sounds affordable?
The grand total for this console is: $959.88
The question at hand is can they legally charge these outlandish prices? Well, the simple answer that we have found in our research is: Yes. They can. I know, some of you guys are calling it price gouging, believe me, our own team went that direction. The problem is in the definition of price gouging. It reads:
Price gouging refers to when retailers and others take advantage of spikes in demand by charging exorbitant prices for necessities, often after a natural disaster or other state of emergency. In most states, price gouging is set as a violation of unfair or deceptive trade practices law.
The keywords in this are “often after a natural disaster.” and “necessities.” Which would bring the question down to this: Is an Xbox One a necessity or a luxury? This is a very important concept to have in mind when determining rather or not the company is price gouging. However, there is a second definition for the term. This to must be mentioned. The other definition reads as follows:
Price gouging occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. Usually, this event occurs after a demand or supply shock. Common examples include price increases of basic necessities after natural disaster
If this definition were to be used, than we can establish that Aaron’s is price gouging its own customers. But this shouldn’t be to shocking. Holding a consumer rating of 1.27 and ranking at 147 among home appliance stores, it’s safe to presume that most of their customers are anything but satisfied with their service. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB,) Aaron’s, as of the time of this article, has 1,107 complaints against it, and that’s just for one store. Though it states “usually after a natural disaster,” the phrasing implies that this isn’t always the case.
To find out the estimated rating for the company itself, we had to only look at their Facebook page. Holding at a 2.2/5 stars, it appears that their low scoring trend continued. So, we began looking at the reviews to find out why. One complaint stood out specifically to us. Though the complaint is alleging some very questionable things, it’s the fact that the rental store ignored this complaint, while responding to a reply of the review.
In another review, an Aaron’s employee is accused of being belligerent toward a customer. Something this extreme would normally have me raising an eyebrow, except for one thing: this all happened on video, which we are linking here. It’s not surprising that the company had no response to this video.
The bottom line is this: There are many options for renting an item to own. However, you have to do your research. Getting yourself into a trap, or predatorial contract, because you failed to conduct research isn’t the company’s fault. When looking into a company, you want to look at specific things: reviews, ratings, complaints, and if possible, check the BBB site; find out how many problems they’ve had in a short time. Every major company will have something negative, but when it’s a constant theme, it’s no longer a situation of a few unhappy customers. It’s a habitual environment within the company itself.