What is the name of your state? Massachusetts
About 5 months ago I decided to get myself a nice HDTV from Rent-A-Center. I got it for my condo, which I bought about a year ago. I missed my last payment (last saturday) due to spending the weekend in the hospital recovering from a car accident (got hit by a drunk driver, seatbelt saved my life.) I wasn't able to pick up my check from work so I told my account manager at RAC that I wouldn't be able to make payment until saturday by 7pm at the latest (which was last night.) On thursday at around 745pm I hear someone pounding on my door. This is odd to me because both the entrances to the building have automatic locks on them and I don't really know anyone who lives in the building. I knew since no one rang the buzzer it must be the RAC thugs, who have pulled this before (and the time before was their own mistake.) The kid (he's maybe 19 at the oldest) was screaming for me to open the door, yelling obsenities towards me and demanding 'his' TV back. I warned them after the last time they did this that they were not allowed in the building without my permission and are actually trepassing. After about 15 minutes of this I finally answer them and asked them to leave. They told me that they aren't leaving until they get their TV. I told them that they are not coming in my house and that I was calling the police. They lied and told me the police were on their way already to arrest me for 'stealing.' Yea buddy, I'm a little smarter than that. The only person acting unlawful was them. They started to get extremely hostile with me (I still hadn't opened the door) and threatened to break down my door. I started hearing them kicking at the door (skinny little punks can't even do that correctly!) I went into the bedroom to check on my girlfriend and saw her beginning to have a panic attack. This is when I put my foot down and decided that I needed to diffuse this situation and get these punks off my property. I grabbed a knife, held it properly as one would when walking across a room (with the tip facing towards me held against my forearm) and threatened them with unreasonable force in attempt to diffuse the situation (getting them off my property.) When that didn't work I opened the door and repeated myself. They started screaming to put the knife down and I told them that I would when they left the premesis. I shut the door again and they continued to bang on the door and yell. Apparently they called the cops right after i opened the door and told them that i pulled a knife on them. I, not knowing that they had already called the police, called them myself and told them the situation. After about 5 minutes the RAC thugs stopped and went to the front door, appartently to meet the officers.
Anyways, the cop talks to me and blah blah not really important details but he gives me the option of either giving them the TV back or if I want to keep the TV then the RAC punks will file 'criminal' assault charges against me. I told him to file charges against me, believing that I was well within the law to threaten unreasonable force in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Well he ignored that and told me that I'll be getting a letter in the mail concerning the 'criminal' assault charges and proceeded to leave.
Yesterday I got a call from the assistant manager at RAC, who threatened to have his guys come here and harass me every night until I give the TV back. He will no longer accept my payment, which I offered him at the beginning of the phone call, which is breaching the contract I have with them. I refuse to give them the TV back unless they have a court order.
My question is, was I within the law in my actions? I do have the right to defend myself and my property and I strongly believe I did that in the best way possible without jeopardizing anyones safety. Also, what can I do to prevent future attempts to harass me aside from giving the TV back? I have paid most of the TV off and by them refusing to accept payment I feel that it is now legally mine.
Any help would be appreciated!