Consumers Beware of “Rent-to-Own”


When considering whether to rent-to-own a consumer product, think about the costs of making what appears initially to be small weekly payments. Read the rental agreement carefully, and you will see that a TV with a retail price of between $250 and $300 has payments of under $20 per week with no credit check, but that over the year and a half you make those payments, the total sales price can amount to four or five times the retail price of he same TV you could buy, simply be saving the same money for 4 months or less! Some interest rates on these rent-to-own agreements are over 200 percent!

And according to the rental agreements, a missed payment results in the store being able to repossess the goods, leaving you with no TV, and no credit toward the payments you’ve already made, even if you were close to paying it off before the missed payment.

Last week, I heard from a consumer who had bought a used washer and dryer on a rent to own contract where the total payments were $2,932. The same used washer and dryer could have been bought at Goodwill or the Habitat Store for about $200 without high interest rates for weekly payments.

The NC Attorney General’s Office suggests that before you decide to rent-to-own, ask yourself the following questions:

Is being able to return the item after using it worth paying more than double in rent what it would cost to purchase the item?

How does the cost and terms of renting-to-own compare to other payment options, like layaway or installment payments?

How does the amount you’ll pay weekly compare to the total cost of the item?

How long must you make payments before you own the item?

How much would you pay for the same item if you bought it someplace else?

Is the item new or used?

If you have a complaint about a rent-to-own contract, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.


¡Cuídate cuando vende un carro!

¿Cuantas veces vendió un carro usado? Típicamente, ha firmado un recibo (“Bill of Sale”), y el título frente un notario público, aceptó el pago, quitó la placa, y llamó la compañía de seguro para remover el carro de su aseguranza. Y no eschuchó nada más.

Pero Usted no sabe si el comprador llevó el título a DMV para conseguir el nuevo título. Y desde cumplirlo, el carro está en su própio nombre. Es importante, especialmente si el comprador decide no aplicar por el nuevo tíulo (tal vez porque no tiene la buena licencia), y si él tiene un accidente. Usted puede ser responsable por su negligéncia, porque el título no cambio nombres de dueño. Con o sin aseguranza, sería un gran problema para Usted.

Existe algunas maneras de evitar este problema. Una es, si vende el carro a un ‘dealer’ autorizado por el estado que debe que seguir las leyes. Otra manera es hacer como yo hice. Cuando están listos cambiar título, reunirse en la oficina de placas del DMV, para segurar que el comprador cumpla su solicitud del nuevo título, y deja un empleado de DMV sellar el título como notario público, y quita la vieja placa a ellos para conseguir un recibo escrito, tambien.

Usted debe que protegerse contra los fraudes de otras personas, y no ser responsable por la negligéncia de otras personas. ¡El futuro económico de su familia no se vale los riesgos!

Jeff Morris es abogado en Salisbury, al número 704-647-0808.

Seller Beware!

How many times have you sold a used car to someone?  Typically, you’ve probably signed a bill of sale and the title in the presence of a notary public, and exchange funds; surrendered the tag and taken the vehicle off your insurance policy.

But how do you know that the buyer turned it in and applied for new title at the tag office?  That matters, particularly if the new buyer decides to drive the car, which is still in your name until re-titled, and is involved in an accident in “your” car!  You could be held responsible for losses, whether insured or not.

There are a couple ways to avoid this scenario.  One is if you are selling to a licensed dealer who follows the law.  Another is what I recently did.  You meet the buyer of your used vehicle at the tag office, and make sure the new title application is done at the same time you surrender the old tag.

Protect yourself from the potential liabilities of others, to assure that you and your family’s financial future is not unnecessarily put at risk.