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Axe Rent-to-Own Provision from State Budget

Rent-to-own stores typically offer consumer goods such as appliances, electronics, and furniture at a substantial markup over retail prices. Because these stores charge exorbitantly high interest rates, consumers – especially low-income families – can end up paying 2 to 3 times the value of these products. 

As part of his proposed 2013-2015 biennial budget, Governor Walker included a provision that exempts the rent-to-own industry from the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Act. This proposal, among other things, would exempt the industry from having to disclose their interest rates. Ultimately, this would be harmful to consumers.

 AARP supports the removal of the rent-to-own provision from the biennial budget.  

Recently, JFC members including Senator Glen Grothman and Senator Jennifer Shilling have called for this provision to be removed from the budget and debated on its own merits as separate legislation. We agree with these efforts because the rent-to-own provision not only would have a damaging effect on Wisconsin consumers, but it is a non-fiscal policy item.

AARP supports strong consumer protection laws and believes exempting the rent-to-own industry from the consumer protections that all businesses must adhere to is the wrong policy for Wisconsin. Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities is a public priority. Exempting the rent-to-own industry from consumer protection laws would harm this goal.

Time is running low for budget deliberations. Please call your member of the legislature and ask them to remove the rent-to-own provision from the budget. Tell them it is a non-fiscal policy item that will harm Wisconsin consumers.

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