A Republicans state lawmaker says a provision in Governor Walker’s budget that exempts rent-to-own companies from the state’s consumer protection laws should be handled as a standalone bill.
State Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) says that if the Legislature’s budget committee doesn’t take the proposal out, the Senate will. Ellis and at least eight other Republicans are calling on the panel to remove the rent-to-own proposal when the committee takes up the provision later today.
Ellis says those companies prey on the “financially illiterate” by charging interest rates that significantly increase the price of a product. For example, he says someone renting a television could end up paying four times more than the regular retail price through a rent-to-own outfit.
The Neenah Republican also notes that the proposal allows companies to offer contracts that don’t have all of the terms in writing. He likens it to allowing “Al Capone to drive your mother to church on Sunday.”
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Ellis (:12)
The industry maintains that it provides a valuable service to consumers who have a hard time obtaining credit or who want to be able to opt out of making a purchase by using a lease.
Rick Schuh, WHBY