Last May, reports surfaced about how seven Rent-To-Own stores had been renting computers with spy-cameras embedded inside. Employees at these companies were using the web cameras to view and capture live images of customers in their own home -- many of whom were in various stages of undress, engaging in all sorts of activities. Images of children were taken, as well private conversations and personal information such as Social Security numbers.

Today, however, the FTC has issued a ruling to prevent companies from surreptitiously monitoring their customers in this fashion.

The original point of putting spy cams in the computers was to help re-locate computers in the event they were stolen. It was never meant to be used for an invasion of privacy!

This gives me an opportunity to talk about rent-to-own stores...are they worth it? My answer: absolutely not!

Typically, a rent-to-own purchase ends up costing about 9 times the amount of a regular purchase of the same item. You're much better off saving for the item in advance, or doing layaway. And in this case, even taking out a loan would fetch you a better deal on that item!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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