Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AARP Auto Buying Program

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Out Big Bucks and a Bed

An adventure with rent-to-own furniture.

Q: While living in Texas, my wife and I signed a rent-to-own contract on a bedroom set from Aaron Rents. When we moved to Utah, we took the set with us. Then one Friday afternoon, the local Aaron’s took back the set, saying we were late on our payments. Maybe one was late in the mail to Texas, but we had paid $4,976 and had only five payments of $254 to go until it was paid off. After calling both stores, the regional manager, and the national office, I was told that Aaron’s would not honor the past balance. We feel cheated. — Marc and Stacey Welsher, Clearfield, Utah

A: Aaron Rents is the second-largest rent-to-own outfit in the country, with 1,500 stores in 48 states and Canada. It has been a publicly traded company since 1982. That gave me two paths to pursue.

The corporate switchboard shuttled me to the legal counsel’s office. I shared your story with the receptionist and was promised a return call. I called the local store and was directed to a regional manager, Bryon Bartley, who told me you should have been able to transfer your account to the Utah store. He also promised to get back to me.

Legal counsel Jessica Rohde won the ring-back race. She confirmed that errors had been made—that you should have been able to keep your furniture. She apologized and arranged for the Utah store to provide you with a replacement bedroom set, including a new mattress and box spring. Glad we could help.

Caveat Renter

"If you don't like it, just return it" is the pitch, but the downsides of renting-to-own can be doozies. So take these precautions:

Shop Around Carefully. assess the merchandise and terms. Richard May of the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations says the industry is more competitive lately, but do yourself this favor before signing: total the ultimate tab. It can be two to five times the retail price.

Get Options. Your contract should let you buy the item within 60 or 90 days for an agreed-upon amount that’s close to the retail price. Also get a lifetime-reinstatement clause, which guarantees you’re credited for all payments in case you return an item and later rent it again.

Ron Burley is the author of Unscrewed: The Consumer’s Guide to Getting What You Paid For (Ten Speed Press, 2006).

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points