Rent-to-own deals — where you pay weekly or monthly installments on a purchase instead of buying it outright — are typically offered for pricier home goods, like furniture, appliances, and electronics, and often end up costing significantly more than you’d pay in cash or with a credit card. Some retailers are extending this idea to pet-buying, and just like renting-to-own a new TV or fridge, a rent-to-own puppy is going to cost you a lot more than you’d pay otherwise.
A Missouri man says he was misled and spent thousands of dollars to one day have the option to purchase two Pomeranian puppies, KSHB News reports (warning: video autoplays).
The ordeal began in November when the man visited an Independence-area Petland and purchased a dog named Lilly.
The purchase price for the purebred pup was $2,135. However, under a rent-to-own plan he was obligated to pay $100 a month for four years, bringing the total rental for the dog to $4,800.
The man says he agreed to a 25% interest rate, but the actual calculations work out to be about 48%. It’s unclear if the man put a down-payment on the animal.
Two months later, the man returned to the pet store and signed a deal for a second Pomeranian puppy named Pepper. Under the terms of the new contract, the man would pay $182.16 a month for two years, totaling about $4,370.
The man says he was also unaware that as part of the deal he wouldn’t actually be able to simply take ownership of the animals once the payments were finished, KSHB reports.
Instead, the contract stated that in order to buy the dogs he would have to pay an additional $300 after the rental period.
The man tells KSHB that the sales person who walked him through the contract did so too quickly for him to understand the deal.
“I signed all this stuff and she went through it so fast, she’s just like, ‘Sign this, sign this,'” he said.
An employee at the Petland location tells KSHB that customers looking to buy puppies are offered five different financing plans.
In the end, the man says he was unable to afford to the payments and has returned the puppies to the store. Under the contract, the company could sue the man for the remaining money owed on the animals.
A spokesperson for Petland tells KSHB that the company won’t seek action against the man.
Consumerist reached out to Petland for more information on the rent-to-own process and how it is described to customers. We’ll update this post when we hear back.