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What’s Wrong with the Rent to Own Sector?


Rent to Own companies specialise in supplying furniture, TVs and basic household goods such as washing machines to low-income households. The 3 biggest players in the Rent to Own sector affect over 350,000 households in the UK*.

We’ve listed 6 things wrong with the Rent to Own Sector:

1 – The Total Cost of items is hard to gage
Extra warranties and insurances can double the cost of goods. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

2 – Overcharging
There are only a few pay weekly stores, which means they can charge whatever they want. The prices of goods are high, because where else are you going to go for essential items?

Sometimes prices can be as high as three times the retail price.

3 – Compulsory Added Extras
Sometimes they sell insurance and warranties that you may not even need. It could be cheaper to insure goods against fire, theft and damage through a single home contents policy.

(See This is Money article: How Add-ons Could Affect Your Purchases)

4 Over 10% of items are Taken Back or Repossessed
There are few safeguards in place against having essential items like cookers or washers removed from the family home, even if you have made substantial payments towards owning that item.

“I think I had three payments left on an item and they sent two big heavy men round, I had always paid on time. I will never set foot in the shop again” – Customer feedback #3

5 – Upselling
Teams may be paid by commission, so beware again of them selling services or products you don’t need.

 6 – No Alternatives
 When it comes to needing a brand new washer or fridge quickly and easily. This is because emergency support from local councils has reduced by half since the introduction of local welfare schemes.

“…Certain high street retailers are charging between 69%-99% APR for people in our situation. While I work, it supports 3 people and paying [other weekly payment store] £1700+ for a new machine that costs a fraction of that, didn’t really appeal to me; but felt left with little choice…” – read her story on our website:


This report has influenced the development of Fair for You, who are committed to providing an alternative for families who need it most. Support the push for change & share your experiences in the Rent to Own Sector in the comments below!


*Information here based off the All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt and Personal Finance Report from the inquiry into the Rent to Own sector, February 2014. The views expressed in this Report are those of the Group. This Report was researched by Jon Ludlow, Parliamentary Researcher to Yvonne Fovargue MP and Mark Haslam, StepChange Debt Charity. It was funded by affiliate members of the Debt & Personal Finance. For more information go to the APPG Debt Inquiry site.



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