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How much for that sofa? Read the fine print.

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If you need furniture or appliances but don’t have the cash to buy them outright, you might be thinking about other payment options. If you do, pay attention to terms written in fine print that might have you paying much more than you thought.

 

In a proposed $175 million settlement, the FTC says Progressive Leasing, a company offering virtual rent-to-own payment plans out of retail stores, led people to believe they’d pay the cash or retail price for furniture and other items. Ads and salespeople promoting 90-day “same as cash” prices enticed people to buy from stores using Progressive Leasing as the form of payment. But, according to the FTC, people usually wound up paying much more than the ads and salespeople told them they would.

 

When shoppers asked questions — about other charges like the interest rate — the FTC says Progressive Leasing had trained sales associates to say there was no interest rate because the payment plan technically wasn’t a loan, leaving out the fact that there were, indeed, other types of additional charges. Once people signed up, Progressive automatically enrolled them in monthly payment plans that withdrew money from their bank accounts over 12 months. As a result, people typically paid about twice the retail price when they paid according to these plans.

 

Keep in mind that you may have more options than you think when buying big-ticket items. But if you come across ads and salespeople promoting low payments, zero interest, or other attractive terms, have them explain exactly what you’re signing up for. Always ask:

  • How much the payments will be?
  • How long and how much it will take to pay in full?
  • Are there other fees or costs – including if you pay off early?

If you don’t get straight answers, walk away and tell the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

this information came in late to my life, i'm struggling to pay for some funiture i thought i was purchasing and in fact its like a very expesive lease...expensive mistake that looked really good at the time of signing...you are right read the fine print.

The real problem is the concept of "fine print" to begin with. Why should consumers have to read through legal jargon to find out the actual conditions under which they are buying something? The FTC should require that all the purchasing conditions be written in plain language, in plain sight, and be part of any explanation of purchase.

Well said!

I don't understand why there would be a fee for paying off a financing arrangement early. Doing so shows a customer is being responsible. With few exceptions, I think installment programs are a total ripoff.

Totally agree with Victoria

Exactly, right?

Ditto!

They do require that.

I thank you for being the voice of reason where this world is seeing things never before thought possible.

Thank you very much...

Progressive Leasing Company, asked for Pre-down payment in advance before you could ESTABLISHED your application.
I encountered this several years ago, when l had purchase four new tires at a used TIRE SHOP, IN PEORIA, AZ. I TRULY DID NEED THE PRE-PAYMENT MONEY, FOR MY MEDS, AND ENDED UP WITHOUT NOTICED TO PAY THIS COMPANY AN ADVANCED FEE FOR PROCESSING MY APPLICATION. I FIND THIS COMPANY, IF A SCAM FRAUDULENT BUSINESS. CONSUMERS, NEED TO SHOP WISELY, OR AT THRIFT STORE FOR THE NOW FUTURE!
SIMPLY TRY TOO STAY OUT OF DEBT...

A very important question to ask is sort of a combination of Questions 1 and 2:
How much will I end up paying if I use the Rent-to-Own plan and pay off in full in 90 days, and how much if I end up taking longer to pay off the purchase?
Compare the answers (double check their math if you are able to) to the actual Cash Price.

Thank you for the alert on this one.

"If you don’t get straight answers, walk away and tell the FTC. " And the FTC will do what? How much of the $175 million settlement (and do settlement terms include Progressive Leasing admitting no fault? No admission to intentionally ripping people off?) will be going to all the people ripped off? Will they receive full restitution? How many years did it take for FTC to act & convince the DOJ to sue?

Read the press release to learn more about the FTC case and details of the proposed $175 million settlement. 

This new is very useful and I thank you guys.

Twice the amount try three times the amount and counting. These cut throat lenders are experts at wordind these contract that at best you need to be an attorney to understand and then to add even more you would need to sit down and read the novel that you have now paid to sign "after the fact". It doesn't come out untill you're now asked to pay and pay and you've now been taken on this rip off journey . Unfortunately then it's to late.I agree with know what your signing but how about regulating these sharks. Make it simple direct and to the point. Telling us to beware is not really addressing the vulnerability of people who can't afford to pay everything up front and exploit the situation. Isn't that really where this needs to start? Education after exploration kinda like a slap in the face.

Your telling me! We could & should have bought our washer & dryer straight out. Which would of also given us the added benefit of selecting a set that we truely wanted initially! However we would had needed the 10% discount to do so, which also meant we needed to use the mother in laws Lowe's card. Unfortunately the ideal of paying less & over time is appealing & always claims victims since everyone prefers to hold onto as much as they can rather than dropping most or all the cash they have at once. Which I'm guilty of occasionally myself. However when my kids father began helping me get back on my feet, after my family politely damaged or destroyed everything they bothered returning, which I'd be generous in saying amounted to about a quarter. Since I logically had the odasity to press charges against them for raiding my home like they'd been Xmas shopping on Black Friday, relieveing my children & I of all our possessions from our underwear, down to our silverware & groceries! Hated replacing my maytag that had functioned immaculately the last 15 years, so I definitely had my heart set on getting a silver, or teal blue set. Anything other than white. Unfortunately because I now overwhelmingly needed everything required to furnish a home. And his mother's hatred for me has been so notorious that its fed her refusal to be apart of our children's lives, inspite the fact of me getting him off drugs, pushing him till he got the extraordinary career he has today. Ultimately although we could had placed the percise amount in her hand, & been able to achieve most of what we needed to refurnish my home for our children. It opened him up to fall pray to this exact scam. An while we didn't end up with the most ideal brand, we did manage to get a silver set. Unfortunately we're now in year 5, just got that set paid off last year, costing us well over $3500.00 for a silver digital top load LG washer & dryer set that should have been just over a grand. So he is still trying to help me work towards replacing majority of the things we need that had been stolen, including big ticket items like our livingroom furniture. While these companies & retail places may not know the details of each individuals lives they pray upon, trust they definitely count, bank, & pray on the basic fundamentals of reality in this world. So while most are trying to create these delusional bubbles to escape or shield themselves from it, they are ALWAYS looking to capitalizing upon the fact that EVERYONE has some sort or drama or challenge in life they're facing! An in a world that acts like it can't rotate & sun will not rise without money, lies, & fake personas, its basic human nature to want to hold onto as much cash as possible, extending from the desire/need to prepared for that unknown future. An sometimes even if it means going without, or waiting till that next pay check(s). Usually your best option is to purchase something straight out. I personally despise the way our system works. An was definitey determined to not accumulate & repeat the massive credit card debit generation before me acquired. Unfortunately I learned the hard way, refusing to own one at all, is just as bad as maxing them all out!! Your best bet is to wait till you have enough to make the purchase flat out, but do so with a credit card, & pay an 1/8 or so off every week, cause they penalize you for paying something off too soon, & refuse to even acknowledge or calculate a cash purchase into a credit score. An you can't purchase majority of the big ticket items in life without having a decently high number. My 1st car, 1st home- a 2bed 1 bath, & furnished it by time turned 19. Absolutely none of it registered, & didn't matter how many titles I owned free & clear & could hand them, no lender would touch me when I eventually learned the mistake I made, & was trying to begin the journey of building my credit score.

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