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STOP Rent-to-Own Bill  Today!  Assembly votes tomorrow!

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference opposes Assembly Bill 759, please urge your State Representative  TODAY to do the same!   The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow (Tuesday).

Rent-to-own (RTO) stores offer consumers appliances, furniture, computers, and other goods, on self-renewing regular installments. Without credit checks or down payments, rent-to-own agreements are especially attractive to customers with poor or no credit. In other states that have passed laws favorable to the RTO industry, the interest rates charged on these transactions can be as high as 200 to 400 percent. An appliance costing $600 retail can end up costing a customer $2,400. Currently, Wisconsin treats RTO transactions like credit transactions and requires certain consumer protections, including the disclosure of interest rates. Assembly Bill 759 removes these protections by exempting RTO agreements from the Wisconsin Consumer Act
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference strongly opposes giving special treatment to an industry that nationwide pursues harmful and unfair business practices. Respect for human dignity, preferential concern for the poor and vulnerable, and pursuit of the common good necessitate resisting any efforts to exempt RTO companies from Wisconsin's consumer laws. These laws have protected Wisconsin consumers well and still allowed law-abiding, state-based RTO businesses to thrive.
Please take action TODAY, ahead of tomorrow's vote:
  • Call your State Representative and explain that you oppose Assembly Bill 759 for the following reasons and ask for their NO vote on the floor tomorrow:
    1. It exempts RTOs from the Wisconsin Consumer Act and the Uniform Commercial Code, both of which provide many consumer protections, including those involving RTO fraud or misrepresentation.
    2. It removes federal Truth-in-Lending Act disclosures, including interest rate disclosures, that enable consumers to make wise financial decisions. 
    3. It entitles RTOs to immediate possession of the property if customers are late on payments.  The Wisconsin Consumer Act currently requires 15 days before repossession and the opportunity to cure the default.
To contact your State Representative, visit the Wisconsin State Legislature website at http://legis.wisconsin.gov and click on "Find My Legislators," or call the State Legislative Hotline, 1-800-362-9472.
Questions? Read the WCC testimony or contact us at 608-257-0004 or office@wisconsincatholic.org.