Paying More, Renting Debt: Why Rent-to-Own is a Bad Deal for Ohio Consumers

June 22, 2009

For customers with limited savings, rent-to-own stores offer a tempting way to obtain appliances and furniture immediately but shoppers usually ultimately pay a price that is several times the worth of the item. This study from Policy Matters surveys local rent-to-own stores, maps these stores in Ohio, compares prices to those in retail stores, and compares Ohio law to the law in other states. This study finds that these stores charge up to 4.5 times what is charged in regular retail stores for items like stoves, refrigerators and washer-dryers. Ohio ranks third in the country in number of rent-to-own stores, which are spread throughout the state, but concentrated in urban and low-income communities. We end with proposals to better protect Ohio consumers.

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