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Can you actually rent at Rent a Center stores?

By Jeff Frank

Your confusion stems from the fact that there are two very different types of Furniture Rental — Rent to Own, and Rent-to-Rent.

You are probably thinking of Rent-to-Own which is far larger in terms of the number of locations. There are nearly 10,000 RTO locations throughout the U.S.

Rent-to-Own is primarily a retail lease/purchase operation that targets consumers who do not have good credit or who have no credit history and little cash.

NILES, IL – SEPTEMBER 08: A woman walks past a Rent-a-Center store September 8, 2005 in Niles, Illinois. Plano, Texas-based Rent-a-Center has said it plans on closing around 162 stores by the end of this year, also stating that about 45 stores were damaged from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Mississippi and Alabama. Rent-a-Center is the largest rental-retail store of its kind in the nation and has over 20 stores in the Chicago area. The manager at this Niles store said he had not heard anything about the store closings. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The primary benefit of rent-to-own is that it allows cash-strapped consumers to eventually own furniture that is newer and more expensive than they could otherwise afford or finance. No credit check is required.

The dis-advantage is extremely high interest rates than can run as high as 300%. Rent-to-own franchises try to price their furniture so that they can make back the cost of the furniture in 6-15 months.

After that everything is pure profit, as is anything they can get from selling off the used furniture if it is returned or repossessed.

To maximize profits Rent-to-Own stores typically buy and sell relatively inexpensive furniture that can be paid off in just a few manageable monthly payments.

Rent-to-Rent furniture stores service more affluent customers with a temporary need for furnishings. Rent-to-rent is true rental, not a means to purchase.

Furniture is rented for a specific term and returned to the rental company at the end of that term. Furniture rental agreements are usually for a term of three months to three years.

The furniture pieces offered in rent-to-rent are usually of higher quality than those used in rent-to-own.

Rent-to-rent is used by people who are less likely to be overly concerned with price. They are often higher income individuals on a temporary work assignment.

In the United States the rent-to-rent furniture rental industry is dominated by a small number of national/regional companies. The largest of these are Cort, Brook Rentals and AFR Furniture Rental.

In addition individual metropolitan areas and regions may be served by several much smaller local companies.

A list of some of these is available at Furniture Rental & Leasing in Yellow Pages by SuperPages.

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