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Rent-to-own stores let you buy household items such as electronics, furniture and appliances by making weekly or monthly payments. You do not own the item until the full amount has been paid, which is usually after 18 months.
Since rent-to-own stores may provide items without doing a credit check, they might seem attractive if you have a limited or poor credit history.
Renting to own is very expensive. The item will end up costing much more than what it would have cost to buy outright (without renting). For example, a television bought for $80/month from a rent-to-own store may cost over $1400 once it is paid off at the end of an 18-month term. The same television might cost $400 to buy outright from a regular retail store. In this example, the rent-to-own option costs more than three times the television’s actual value.
If you do not make your payments on time, your items might be repossessed. That means you wouldn’t only lose the item, but also the money you’ve put into paying it off.
There might also be fees for delivery, late payments, and insurance. Make sure you understand all charges and fees before signing a rent-to-own agreement. More tips are available in the Canadian Consumer Handbook. If you are thinking of using a rent-to-own service, there are things to think about, including any other options that might be available to you. Remember that you have rights when using a rent-to-own service.
Who can I talk to if I have Concerns about a Rent-to-Own Business?
Although rent-to-own businesses do not need to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC, they must still operate in a fair way and in accordance with B.C.'s consumer protection laws and any local/municipal bylaws that apply to them (for example, they may be required to have a business licence for the city they operate in).