Seney v. Rent-a-Center, Inc., No. 13-1064 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit against RAC after entering into a rental agreement with RAC for a wooden trundle bed and mattress infested with bedbugs. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's order compelling arbitration of their breach of warranty claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq. Relying on regulation promulgated by the FTC under its authority to interpret the Act, plaintiffs argued that RAC could not require binding arbitration as part of a consumer warranty. The court concluded that the district court erred in holding that the FTC regulations contained no ban on binding arbitration. However, the FTC arbitration ban simply did not apply to plaintiffs' rental agreement with RAC. Because plaintiffs have not linked RAC's warranty to any sale, they failed to establish the existence of a written warranty under FTC regulations. Accordingly, the binding arbitration clause was enforceable and the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.