SOURCE: Association of Progressive Rental Organization

December 18, 2008 00:27 ET

Economic Recovery Plan Needs to Look at Rent to Own

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - December 18, 2008) - As the U.S. struggles in its recession and lawmakers explore areas to boost the economy, proposed federal rent to own regulations and lease definition legislation would boost rent to own growth an estimated $1 billion per year with thousands of additional jobs. The rent to own transaction is the most commonly used financial transaction unregulated at the federal level. The lack of federal definition for the no-debt, rent to own transactions prevent small business growth, job creation and further competition.

Clear communication of pricing and payment options to rent to own customers through mandated disclosure regulations that also foster business growth and competition is fundamental to good public policy, according to University of Rice Professor Dr. Doug Schuler.

"Good public policy is to foster markets and consumer protection regulation that is aimed at information failures," Dr. Schuler states. Dr. Schuler is a business and government relations expert at Rice University.

Proposed federal rent to own regulations mandate consumer protections through full pricing disclosures, payment reinstatement rights and advertising disclosures that have been successful in virtually eliminating consumer complaints in regulated states. To balance federal consumer protections, the proposed federal legislation also defines the rent to own transaction as a lease that is the cornerstone of rent to own's $6.8 billion growth for the past thirty years. The rent to own industry is currently regulated by 47 state rent to own laws and the U.S. Congress has debated national regulations for the rent to own advocate for the past 15 years.

The modernization of rent to own prices and payments makes rent to own cheaper than many credit card transactions, competitive with retail and yet never requires the customer to make the next payment. Add in the fact that most rent to own stores offer the customer their lifetime to reinstate previous payments toward ownership of a product -- but without the obligation to do so -- then it's obvious that the rent to own industry is a valuable consumer option in a troubled economy, tightening credit and an unstable employment future.

The rent to own industry, through the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO), has spent more than 25 years improving business practices to become one of the fastest growing and vibrant consumer industries in America. For more information, visit www.rtohq.org.

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