Can Rent-A-Center press felony charges on me if I stop paying on an item?

Asked about 3 years ago - Toledo, OH

Can a company press felony charges against me for nonpayment? Is this a civil or criminal matter?

I was renting something from a Rent-A-Center in Ohio. It was stolen from me so I quit paying and the rental company left a message saying they will press charges on me.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Thomas Patrick Ryan

    Pro

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . From the limited information that you provided, it sounds like this is a civil matter only. Unless the rental company has evidence that you stole the item, they cannot threaten prosecution to resolve a criminal matter. This would be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

    I would recommend you record the threat of felony charges and preserve the evidence to ensure you are protected. In the State of Ohio, it is legal to record a telephone conversation if one party consents to its recording.

  2. Philip Alan Eichorn

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . If the Ohio rental company files a police report, then the State will determine whether or not to prosecute the case as a criminal matter.

    Remember, you have the right to a lawyer and if the police come to discuss the matter with you, you'd be well advised to exercise that right. That said, it’s more likely that they'd file a civil action against you rather than file a police report.

  3. Harry Edward Hudson Jr

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Although I do not practice in Ohio, this threat from the rent a center sounds a lot like extortion. You may or may not remain liable for property stolen from you. If you have insurance, send the claim to the carrier. Also, call a criminal attorney and discuss the message with him or her.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client... more

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