Remote Rent to Own

Certain companies outside New Jersey  finance furniture sales at stores inside New Jersey, by pretending to “lease” the furniture. Here is how it sometimes works: a consumer goes to a New Jersey furniture store. He or she agrees to buy the furniture on credit. That is a retail installment sale, covered by New Jersey law. The store may tell the consumer that she is buying the goods. But for the financing the store signs an electronic contract over the Internet with a remote company which pretends that it is leasing the furniture to the consumer. Sometime the consumer never gets a copy of the financing contract. The remote finance company has no intention of leasing the goods. In a lease, one can return the goods without buying them. The remote rent to own company has no warehouse anywhere in the USA to accept the return of “ leased” goods. The local store gives the consumer a contract which states “All sales are final.” It is not a lease if no one will ever take back the furniture. Why do it this way? The remote rent to own company hopes to avoid N.J.’s thirty percent criminal usury law. But the N.J. Supreme Court in Perez v. Rent-a-Center, (2006), decided that N.J. rent to own contracts are subject to the 30 percent criminal usury law.  One company, Bristlecone, in Nevada, purported to “lease” pedigreed dogs-- which the consumers rightly believed they were purchasing. No one ever repossesses the family pet!  The Bristlecone companies declared bankruptcy and are out of business, but other companies are continuing  remote rent to own furniture sales started by Bristlecone.

CLNJ advice:  remote rent to own has no advantage for the consumer – you will be overcharged. Consult a consumer attorney.

Consumers League
of New Jersey

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