What it's Like to Work at Rent-a-Center
Day to Day: Calls till Late at Night, Deliveries, and "Collection Visits"
I was an employee of Rent-A-Center East for eight months as a customer service representative. Basically I handled customer accounts and collection calls, along with deliveries, and pick-ups.
Our policy was to begin each day with a round of calls to all customers who were due on that particular day, followed by collection calls for those who were 1-15 days late. After the calls we handled deliveries, then began the collection visits. After that there would be another round of calls to all of the past due customers and their references, plus those who were still due on that day. It was mandatory to go through the call list three times every day. Most nights we were not allowed to go home until we reached a preset number of accounts collected and phone call went on into the night sometimes after the legal time of 9pm.
Collections can be a very dangerous job. Customers who aren't answering their phones during collection calls aren't generally too happy when you pull in their driveway with the big RAC truck. I have been physically threatened dozens of times. More than once I had to call police to ensure my safety. I was told by management to return to most of these places numerous more times regardless of my safety. Some customers got angry and accused me of looking through windows and trying to force my way into their door to retrieve merchandise. I finally started recording myself during visits for my own protection.
I was also sent out alone on nearly impossible deliveries: living room suites, refrigerators, washers and dryers. I broke two of my toes trying to assemble a large dresser on my own, pulled a muscle in my back pulling a huge french door refrigerator up three flights of stairs, and pulled another muscle in my shoulder blade trying to awkwardly lift a pillow-top queen-sized mattress to carry into a customer's home.
Questionable Collection Policies
When I went out on collection runs, I was constantly in danger. And the managers who were sitting in the safety of their offices were adding to the danger. Several times I was told when doing collection visits to "put my foot in the door," or "walk around to the back of the house and see if anyone is home." One manager told me to "demand the return of the merchandise, or else" to a large man with a prison tattoo on his forehead.
The manager I was having issues with even went as far as to tell customers they owed more money than they actually did, so she could keep them ahead and off of her credit numbers. There were however exceptions to her rules. Her friends would get breaks and be allowed to come in with half, or a third of their payment without penalty. I reported their actions to the DM, but all he did was immediately call her and tell her exactly what I said instead of investigating the matter further, and nothing came of it.
How Rent-A-Center Treats Injured Employees
The first time I injured myself at Rent-A-Center, the manager had no idea of what to do. I dropped a dresser mirror on the last two toes of my right foot, fracturing them both. After three days they finally got me an appointment with a doctor. I was unable to drive, lift any heavy objects, or even wear a shoe for the next eight weeks. During this time I was subject to snide remarks from my manager and coworkers about how I was "milking" my injury, when to this day I still have no feeling in the tip of my pinky toe. I was constantly asked to do things that went against the doctor's orders, even re-injuring my toe couple of times while driving the van on collection runs.
The last injury occurred when I was on a delivery alone after my scheduled time to be off. I lifted a heavy pillow top queen sized mattress over my head to carry into the customers home. The mattress shifted and while attempting to correct the shift and keep the brand new mattress out of the dirt I pulled a muscle in my shoulderblade. I reported it to my manager that night and she suggested I go home and see how it felt the next day.
I came into work the next day even though I could not lift my arm more than eight inches from my side. I asked to go and see a doctor. Finally after I asked several times, she angrily called and reported the injury. I got on the phone with the telecom services and spoke with a nurse. She gave me the options to go home and ice the injury or to go see a doctor.
I informed her I needed to see a doctor. They searched for a doctor's care facility nearby and found one 40 miles away. Their databases had not been updated to show the new doctor's care facility that was literally across the street from the store where I worked so I informed the nurse. She told me that if I got my manager's permission then I could go across the street instead. My manager refused to give permission and said if I wanted to see the doctor I would have to drive. I got a little upset and called corporate office, I was then informed that if the facility was 40 miles away then they could change my appointment without her permission, and I received the appointment across the street.
My manager was furious. She began screaming and throwing items, then she called me into her office. I explained to her what I had done to get the appointment across the street, and asked her why she was trying to make things more difficult for me. She then got up out of her desk and started advancing towards me screaming and flailing her arms. She was yelling,"You're hurt? Right? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" over, and over while steadily closing in on me as I was retreating to the door. She got so close at one point I turned to her and said, "I am in fear for my safety and I am calling the police." Her response was, "Of course you callin' the police that's all you know how to do." She then turned and told the sales manager (her friend) to "call the police, I'm going to tell them he threatened me."
I waited in the parking lot for the police to arrive. I told them what happened and then they went inside the store to speak to the ladies inside. They came back out and told me I needed to go home and not return until my district manager contacted me.
Two weeks went by with repeated calls and messages from myself to the DM that were not returned, so I filed for unemployment. I was denied, and in the denial letter it says I was fired because I had threatened both women and asked them to go outside and fight. But actually I was injured and unable to defend myself, much less fight two people. One of the women was a 6f-t tall 180-lb former Sheriff's Deputy.
Whistleblowing at Rent-A-Center
Several times during my employment at RAC I reported my coworkers for unethical behavior to my district manager and nothing was done. I even went as far as to call the regional director of Asset Protection to report suspicious activity. His office is two states away, so all he did was call the district manager and allowed him to complete the investigation, which of course went nowhere.
I think these reports are the reason this manager was angry and upset with me, and it caused her breakdown and subsequent psychotic behavior. Apparently it also helped the other coworker and her friend decide to collude with the manager and back her side of the story which is completely false.
Beware of Rent-A-Center whether you are an employee or a customer. No matter what they say to you, they do not care about you, or anything besides the almighty dollar and protecting their own asses.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.