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Rent-to-Own: Consider your alternatives

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Need a sofa, washer/dryer, TV, or new tires? Don’t have the cash or credit to buy them outright? You may be considering rent-to-own: simply make weekly or monthly payments for a while and you own the goods.

But before you sign on the dotted line, consider this: renting to own can cost two to three times what you would pay if you bought with cash, on layaway, or on an installment plan. And if you miss one or more payments, the goods could be repossessed. You might be able to get back your stuff — if you can catch up on the payments. But if you can’t, you risk losing everything you paid.

And did you know that some rent-to-own merchandise may be several years old? It might even have been rented by other people before you. Also, there may be fees: for everything from processing to delivery and pick-up, to set-up/installation and excessive damage, to late payments and reinstatement fees.

When it comes to buying items for your home or car, you have other options. For example:

  • Find out whether you qualify for store financing. Many stores offer no payments for 90 days, or some other amount of time.
  • Consider layaway — putting money down and paying over time. You get the goods when you’ve paid in full.
  • Think about whether you have room on your credit card. Even a high credit card interest rate is probably cheaper than rent-to-own. Consider this: If you turn the monthly rental fees into an annual percentage rate (APR), they could range from about 100% to 350%. Credit cards typically don’t top 24%.

Want to learn more? Check out Rent-to-Own: Costly Convenience.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Them dirty Dogs

The rent to own stores should be same finance as the rest, no more interest than 18% per year. I think they are a complete rip off of the American people.

OK, Mrs. Tressler. Colleen. I will now know to wish for what is all ready for inspection.

DEAR SIR ;as i come from DUNEDIN NEW ZEALAND and did you hear what happened to me after the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKES 2010 @2011 as i got badly stung from a telephone company in NEW ZEALAND called VODAFONE NZ as they sent me a account of $30.986 account as part of that account was another $4,691 because their cell tower fell over and on top of that i got done another $3000 from TELECOM NZ which isnt even mine as i travelled 19 times after the quakes as those earthquakes really put me into a serious mod of shock which iam still tring to recover from as no one pays these kind of accounts to any kind of service and especailly when no telephone company in NEW ZEALAND has a contract from INTERNATIONAL TELCO or TELECOM

I have a scam to report, scoresense credit score, there are many reviews. About tree months ago I went online for my credit scores supposed to have paided $1.00 through another company but ended up with scoresense.
I never got my scores , so I called spoke with a customer service person, cancel before being billed $29.95 each month, read my bank statements they are still chargeing me 2 months after I cancel. Please investigate this credit / 3 credit scores company. They are ripping people off. I'm a senior and believed I would get my credit scores.

Thank you

Please report your experience at so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. We can't address complaints that come through the blog comments. Please go to to report.

I just wonder how many poor souls fall for these ploys!
Caveat emptor!!
Other places to beware of are these furniture/appliance rental stores. Mostly out of curiosity, I ventured into one once to "price" a TV; never again...

I never did understand the immediate gratification thing! Rent to Own should be illegal. It is like a Payday Loan. It is a license to steal from people. There should be clear disclosure listing average retail price of item purchased in a standard store and then the amount they will pay for the privilege of Renting to Own!

These places are readily visible in poor communities. This predatory type of business are targeting the poor, the one's that don't know that are alternative ways of aquiring goods.
Our poor communities are a prey to this predators. Why are they still in business when they have ruined consumers, credit, have sent them to fall on a worst financial situation they were already in.

I work with low income parents and will include this information in their packets. I like to keep them informed because many of them rent from these businesses. Thanks!

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