Just in case you weren’t already sure that “Rent To Own” was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad deal… Read this. [ABC News]


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  1. ReidFleming says:

    Just in case you weren’t already sure, those that can least afford to be screwed over are usually the ones being screwed the most. As a corollary, some of the wealthiest people I’ve ever known were the ones that most thought they deserved “a deal” when I worked in retail. The only exception to that were the super-rich. Members of the Reds and Bengals used to come in an never made a fuss but the mere run-of-the-mill millionaires would always ask, “Can you take some off the price?”

  2. Dyscord says:

    I always thought that renting to own was ridiculous. Just looking at the “total price” would turn me off…like paying $800 for an 4G ipod, or $2000 on a $1000 computer.

  3. LoriLynn says:

    All that, and by the time you’ve paid for it and own it outright, it’s more than likely an outdated model (for electronics that is).

  4. scoobydoo says:

    And in other news, snow is cold.

    That said; I don’t think any amount of publicizing the horrors of rent to own will stop people from using it. For a large number of folks, it’s often the only way they can get their hands on the latest electronics they can’t afford.

  5. RulesLawyer says:

    The overall advice of the article’s good, but not “After all, it’s quite possible the rental store is going to provide you with used merchandise, so what’s the difference?”

    I’m guessing there’s some kind of warranty that comes with the rent-to-own electronics. Not so with the guy down the street having a moving sale. Then again, if you take that risk into account, the moving sale electronics should be even cheaper.

  6. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    “Rent to own” as a scam has existed in some form for, I believe, well over a century. It’ll disappear around the same time the lottery — another brilliant tax-the-poorest scheme — bites the dust.

  7. maztec says:

    Rent to Own may have its place, if you get a decent contract. Otherwise, it sucks.

    Reminds me of when a cousin purchased a new computer in 1999, only $2000, to be paid in $100 installments over 20 months. The trick was, the computer would not be granted to his possession until the payment period was over. Then, every 6 months, the seller would offer “upgrades” some mandatory, some not. Finally in 2006 he had a brand new computer, that was about 4 years out of date . . . . and cost around $5000. Ooph.

  8. ReidFleming says:

    @maztec: Reminds me of [www.bluehippo.com]

  9. Comments are not enabled says:

    @maztec: ouch, that was painful just to read. A computer is a terrible thing to rent-to-own. The price depreciates faster than a car!

  10. Squeezer99 says:


    how do you think they got to be run of the mill millionaires? by being frugal with their money. nothing wrong with asking for a discount

  11. sashazur says:

    It’s kind of sad, and telling, that a news story is needed to spell this out to people. It should be obvious.

  12. thelushie says:

    Around here we have a rent to own car place. I want to go check it out just to see what it is about. (I drive a Ford Focus, and have no intention of getting rid of it until it dies! Then I will go to the dealer who sold me my Focus.).

  13. Dyscord says:


    Wow. That’s harsh.

    The sad thing is that for $5000 he could get a computer now that would totally blow that one out of the water.

  14. Parapraxis says:


    for $5000 he could get a little asian guy with an abacus that would totally blow that one out of the water!

    I know, because I was one of those little asian guys. GO AMERICA!

  15. backbroken says:

    I wonder how many things are rented at the rent-to-own with payday loans?

    Really though, not everyone can be rich. Some people just can’t hold onto money, no matter how hard friends, relatives, or great sites like Consumerist try to help them.

  16. SunnyLea says:

    Props on the Alexander reference. :)

  17. sjaguar says:

    I have never used a rent-to-own center, so I don’t know the costs involved. But, I see the trucks frequently at the two houses on either side of me. It seems to be a vicious cycle. The RTO company drops something off. A few weeks later, the truck comes back. They knock on the door but receive no answer. The truck keeps coming back every few days trying to reach someone. After a few weeks, the RTO company is able to take back their merchandise. A few days later, the truck comes back to drop something off again.

  18. MightyHorse says:

    “It’s kind of sad, and telling, that a news story is needed to spell this out to people. It should be obvious.”
    They should reprint this article on the backs of welfare checks.

  19. puka_pai says:

    I know a guy who is in the RTO business. He trades his Bentley for a new one every two years.

  20. 23221 says:

    “Really though, not everyone can be rich. Some people just can’t hold onto money, no matter how hard friends, relatives, or great sites like Consumerist try to help them.”

    Some people also can’t hold onto their money (meaning their pathetic minimum-wage paychecks) after blowing it on silly frivolities like rent, food, shelter, meds, etc. Of course they certainly don’t deserve take-it-for-granted ‘luxury’ items like a tv, furniture, etc. etc. as they weren’t smart enough (or smart enough to have well-off parents) to get to go to college and get that ever-lovin’ degree that’s become as mandatory to getting a decent wage as a high school diploma used to be a couple of generations ago. So of course they should either suck it up and do without those fripperies, or be easy prey to legalized sharking. The absolute elitist jerkery of some commenters here is depressing to put it mildly; but I’m hopeful that the just-around-the-corner coming economic collapse might just be teaching some of us some very salutary lessons in reality based low-income life very, very soon.

  21. 23221 says:

    How much experience of the low-income minimum-wage way of life do you have, backbroken? If the (honest) answer is “little or none”, then, yes, it assuredly is ‘elitist’ for you to make such assumptions. There are those who are poor handlers of money yes, and believe it or no, some of them even fall into the 85 to 100K+ a year bracket. But that fact certainly does not render any the less true the other fact that there are many out there who work, work hard, and are being dicked by a lousy federally mandated wage scale that has not kept anywhere close to parity with real-world cost of living. And yes, it is jerkery to accuse those trapped in that system of being nothing more than the authors of their own problems. That needs to be said more often to some people, and I’m not the one who’s apt to take it back at all, since it’s correct. If that somewhichaway bothers you, well–tough.