Oshkosh Democrat Gordon Hintz rails for 35 minutes against legislation that essentially exempts rental-purchase agreements from Wisconsin’s consumer protection law. Hintz is unsuccessful in sending what he called a “predatory” bill back to committee on financial institutions, arguing it didn’t have proper oversight. “We have found a way in this state and in this country to make massive amounts of money off of poor people.”
Hintz argues, consumers who rent to own really expensive items are among the poorest, adding, “It’s not really capitalism if you’re making you’re money at the expense of people who either are desperate or don’t know any better.”
Hintz says business has never been better. “In other words, we have found an industry that knows how to create jobs and expand even during this bad economy. Amazing how do they do it? They do it because people are poor and struggling and have bad credit and they’re being pushed into this area.”
He says the rent-to-own bill (AB-582) won’t help create the right kind of jobs; it preys on the poor — without warning them. The measure is sponsored by Eleva Republican Warren Petryk. Under the legislation, the rental-purchase company isn’t required to disclose any annual percentage rate. Hintz says it will put more stress on the social service system. He says consumers who choose to buy the product they had been renting are “purchasing at three times the cost.”
The bill passed the Assembly and was immediately messaged to the Senate, which refused to act on the measure before adjourning its final day of session.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:35