Case Studies

Dear U.S. Congress,

The logical first question you ask is why the rent-to-own industry is a Congressional issue. The simple answer is because of your’s Congress. In 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007, powerful members of Congress introduced federal legislation that would eliminate the rent-to-own industry in America.

As a consequence, the rent-to-own industry found itself in the halls of U.S. Congress to protect the rent-to-own industry that serves 4.1 million satisfied consumers each year that choose rent-to-own as a no-debt, no-obligation transaction for their household needs. In response to negative rent-to-own legislation, the rent-to-own industry worked with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to support the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and received two Senate Banking Committee hearings in 2004 and 2005.

The Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act of 2011 will be sponsored by Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco from Texas and Sen. Mary Landrieu from Lousiana. The bills will be referred to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee pending hearings and votes. Last session, the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act (H.R. 1744) generated 126 co-sponsors and the Senate companion bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu (S. 738) generated 20 co-sponsors. The bill has broad bi-partisan support and balances the needs of consumer protection while defining the rent-to-own transaction as a lease.

The rent-to-own industry takes full responsibility for not properly explaining the value of the rent-to-own transaction and industry; therefore, we have united as an industry to tell the public, state lawmakers and the U.S. Congress the rent-to-own story. The rent-to-own industry has grown and modernized in the past 40 years. An industry that continues to thrive and compete after four decades is an industry that serves a need for consumers and in the market.

The rent-to-own industry has taken responsibility for improving its business practices, pricing, payment options, reinstatement rights and customer service by embracing regulations and consumer protections in 47 state rent-to-own laws. The combination of consumer protections and industry competition have created payment options that have significantly reduced rent-to-own prices. The last remaining hurdle is federal legislation that the U.S. Congress has considered for the past 17 years.

The rent-to-own transaction is the most flexible transaction in the market today which is why many other industries such as musical instruments and computers are successfully applying its no-debt, no-obligation transaction to their industries as well. Many other industries will follow, therefore, it is important for the U.S. Congress to finally define the rent-to-own transaction as a lease and, in return, provide meaningful consumer disclosures and reinstatement rights that will improve consumer protections in 33 states.

The U.S. Congress forced rent-to-own into its agenda and the rent-to-own industry responded by embracing federal regulations in return for federal lease definition. The fact that the rent-to-own industry has one of the highest customer satisfaction rates and has modernized its customer service, pricing and products are testaments to the market, state rent-to-own laws and competition being successful to create a $7 billion industry and a transaction that is transcending the market.

Please help us help you finish the legislative business you began in 1993 by co-sponsoring and passing the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act so we can both take this issue off our to-do list.

Thank you,

The Rent-to-Own Industry represented by The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO).


For more information on APRO’s federal legislative effort, please contact APRO Public Affairs Director Richard May by e-mail or phone at 512/225-1051.

APRO: The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations‚ the official voice of the rent-to-own industry Founded in 1980, APRO is the national, non-profit trade association advocating and representing the rent-to-own industry before the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, courts, media, Wall Street and the public.