New Orleans, LA Lawyers and Nationwide Consumer Class Action Lawsuits
In this nationwide consumer class action, the attorneys at Herman, Herman, & Katz are investigating software called PC Rental Agent that was secretly installed inside computers from Aaron’s Rent to Own franchise.
The spyware software was manufactured by the Pennsylvania firm of Designerware LLC, which is also named in the suit, along with Aaron’s franchisee Aspen Way Enterprises. The device came to light only after the manager of an Aaron’s outlet in Casper, Wyoming visited a renter’s home to repossess the laptop. The manager, who mistakenly believed the renters hadn’t paid off the computer, showed the couple a photo taken by the machine’s webcam of the husband using the computer at home. As it turns out, this software was installed in hundreds of consumer’s computers in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Since at least 2007, and likely before, Aaron’s has secretly installed a spying device and/or software on Aaron’s Rent to Own computers. This device or software, including PC Rental Agent, permitted Aaron’s to remotely and surreptitiously access, monitor, intercept, and/or transmit electronic communications, including images of monitors or screens, keystrokes, and images captured by the computers’ “webcams.”
PC Rental Agent is manufactured, assembled, advertised, and sold to Aaron’s by Designerware for the primary purpose of allowing Aaron’s to remotely track, access, monitor, and transmit electronic communications on Aaron’s RTO computers. PC Rental Agent is soldered into the motherboard and/or is part of the Intel Chipset. It cannot be uninstalled or easily detected. It can only be deactivated using a “Wand” that is not accessible to the ultimate user of the rented computer. It allows Aaron’s to secretly monitor, intercept, and collect renter’s electronic communications from anywhere in the world.
Aaron’s has concealed from their customers their ability to remotely access, intercept, and monitor customer’s private, personal electronic communications, information, screen shots, keystrokes, or images captured on webcams and to further disclose to consumers exactly the kinds of private information and images that can be and were routinely collected, transmitted, and stored.
Photographs were obtained by the webcams through a “pop-up” box. Photographs were taken remotely via the webcam through “prompting” which occurs when the customer receives a “pop-up” box on his computer screen which states that the customer’s windows system registry, or part of the windows software, needs to be registered. The pop up box requires the customer to enter his or her name, address, and telephone number, after which they are given access to the computer.
When the user enters the information, the PC Rental Agent causes the webcam to take, transmit, and store an unauthorized photograph and other data of the user entering the information. The pop up box does not notify or advise users that private electronic communications are being intercepted.
If you or someone you know has rented computers from an Aaron’s franchise, learn about your legal rights from an experienced Louisiana class action lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.