(a) The attorney general may bring a civil action to restrain a dealer or a person acting in his behalf from engaging in a course of:
(1) Making or enforcing unconscionable terms or provisions of rent-to-own transactions;
(2) Fraudulent or unconscionable conduct in inducing consumers to enter into rent-to-own transactions; or
(3) Fraudulent or unconscionable conduct in the collection of payments arising from rent-to-own transactions.
(b) In an action brought pursuant to this section the court may grant relief only if it finds:
(1) That the respondent has made unconscionable agreements or has engaged or is likely to engage in a course of fraudulent or unconscionable conduct;
(2) That the agreements or conduct of the respondent have caused or are likely to cause injury to consumers; and
(3) That the respondent has been able to cause or will be able to cause the injury primarily because the transactions involved are rent-to-own transactions.
(c) In applying this section, consideration shall be given to each of the following factors, among others:
(1) Belief by the dealer at the time rent-to-own transactions are made that there was no reasonable probability of payment in full of the obligation by the consumer;
(2) Knowledge by the dealer at the time of the sale of the inability of the consumer to receive substantial benefits from the transaction;
(3) Gross disparity between the price of the property or services sold that are the subject of the transaction and the value of the property measured by the price at which similar property are readily obtainable in rent-to-own transactions by like consumers;
(4) The fact that the dealer contracted for or received separate charges for insurance with respect to the goods with the effect of making the sales or loans, considered as a whole, unconscionable; and
(5) The fact that the respondent has knowingly taken advantage of the inability of the consumer reasonably to protect his interests by reason of physical or mental infirmities, ignorance, illiteracy or inability to understand the language of the agreement or similar factors.
(d) In an action brought pursuant to this chapter, a charge or practice expressly permitted by this chapter is not unconscionable.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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