You’ve likely seen an ad for Rent-A-Center on TV or driven past one, maybe even stopped in to see what they’re all about. They basically urge you to rent to own consumer electronics, furniture, and other household items. This requires weekly payments, or you have to give the stuff back. We looked closely at what their offer entails, and whether or not it gives enough benefit to the consumer to make it a good deal.
What is Rent-A-Center?
Rent-A-Center is a rent-to-own corporation that requires no credit but allows you to enjoy name brands on a budget. The options range from furniture, appliances, and electronics, then you can choose a payment plan and schedule that works best for your personal budget. Rather than saving up the money to purchase an item, Rent-A-Center gives you the ability to receive the item instantly.
History of Rent-A-Center?
Rent-A-Center first opened in 1960, when an owner of a retail company, Ernie Talley, was tired of seeing hardworking customers unable to purchase goods because of their lack of cash or good credit. Ernie decided to open the first rent-to-own store in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Mr. T’s TV Rental.
Several years later in 1973, W. Frank Barton and Thomas Devlin who previously worked for Ernie Talley, founded the Rent-A-Center brand in Wichita, Kansas. After many years and acquiring many smaller businesses along the process (i.e. Rainbow Rentals, Inc., Rent Rite, Inc., RentWay, First Home Choice, Easyhome etc.) In 2013 Rent-A-Center became an international franchise.
How Does it Work?
At Rent-A-Center a credit history is not required. A consumer must come with a standard amount of information and documents. Rent-A-Center askes for a consumer to bring in their personal information such as:
- Date of birth
- Additional contact information
- Verifiable source of income
- Residential information
- 2-4 references that are relatives with separate addresses.
Clients can choose which payment plan they would prefer, between weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly. Lastly, Rent-A-Center will have your purchased goods delivered and set up with no extra fees, on the same day or whichever date the client chooses.
Rent to Own
A consumer can make small payments towards a needed or desired item and continue those payments until their balance is cleared. If at any given time the consumer is unable to cover the cost of their payment plan, they must then return the item until they can start making payments again.
Fortunately, Rent-A-Center allows for the consumer to continue right where they left off with no additional or hidden fees. Thus, removing the possibility of a financial set back where they would have to start all over again.
Renting for Short Period of Time
Consumers have the choice to use whichever product they may need, for the period of time they require it. When the item is no longer needed or wanted by the consumer, they can return the item at their own convenience with no obligations or commitment. For instance, consumers can rent a TV for Superbowl weekend then return it, or a laptop for a trip, returning it shortly after their return.
What are My Options?
Furniture: Living rooms, living room sets, sofa and sectionals, recliners, accent chairs, side and end tables, electric fire places, bedroom, bedroom furniture, kids furniture, beds, mattresses, bed frames, dinning sets, TV stands, Lamps and more
Appliances: Washer and Dryer, Refrigerator, Ranges, Freezers and Dishwashers, including popular brands of Whirpool and Maytag
Computers: Laptops, Tablets and Desktops are available for purchase, including such brands as HP, Dell and ASUS
Electronics: Some of the electronics’ options include, TV’s, Home Theater and Audio, as well as Video Game Consoles
Smartphones: Popular Android smartphones including Samsung are available for rental or rent-to-own
Deals: Rent-A-Center officers amazing final sales all a variety of brands, that have reached a certain age. In addition to the aged products there is an additional deep discount on used and returned inventory, which include all the above listed categories.
Where is Rent-A-Center located?
Rent-A-Centers corporate office is located in Texas, United States of America. However, they have over 3,000 stores in American alone. Rent-A-Center is also considered a worldwide corporation, with locations not only being in America, but also Canada, and Mexico. In Canada, you have the option of going to their subsidiary chains that offer the rent-to-own program. Such as, Ashley furniture, Aaron’s or Easyhome.
Pros and Cons of Rent-A-Center?
Like any company that offers a service there are Pro’s and Con’s, let’s look at what some of them have been recognized as for Rent-A-Center:
- Paying more to rent than to purchase the item upfront in the long run
- Item availability and repair are less readily available
- Taxes are charged on every payment
- Payments must be up to date prior to returning any products
- Getting the latest furniture and appliances in your home
- Providing an alternative for individuals of both high and low financial classes to furnish their houses
- Renting for short term purposes, making short term living arrangements easier
- Providing solutions to long term purchase goals of more costly items
- If you pay off your purchase within 90 days of signing your agreement you can avoid any major markups
Overall the consumers’ reviews and comments would suggest that this is the quickest, cost-efficient method of purchasing that must-have item that is not in your budget at this time.
What Else is Out There?
There are many options out there if what you desire is specific to one item being furniture, appliances or electronics. However there no direct competitors to Rent-A-Center. They are the longest-running and only corporation to offer not only furniture and electronics but also appliances.
How do Current Consumers feel?
Consistent with any larger corporation there is a variety of opinions and experiences, varying with location and representatives being dealt with. However, according to consumer affairs, based on 536 reviews submitted Rent-A-Center has been given a 3.5-star review.
Consumers feel that it is a way to help low-income families furnish their homes. They also feel that it is a helpful alternative to credit card purchases as they are at a higher interest rate. The staff at various locations have been commended on their ability to provide customer service, as well as destress a financially strapped individual.
Other Money Saving Options
This is just one way of being able to find much-needed items for the home. There are other things in life that people are always looking for at bargain prices. For example, when a person needs or wants to travel they will be on the lookout for good deals on flights or Hotels. There are a lot of options that can be used to find some good discounts in this area and one of them may be Priceline.
8 Customer Reviews on “Can You Save Money By Renting Household Items From Rent A Center?”
The Intrest, maybe. But if your paying 3 or 4 times the RETAIL cost, it’s highway robbery.
This comment is in regard to what Whitehorse67 wrote. Yes, the final analysis is always up to the buyer/consume to choose. However, we are also well-awared most consumer doesn’t know the full detail, or understood the contend of the fine print, or bothers to read the sand grain sized words grouped at the bottom of the contract. As one famous US senator, whom also holds a Phd in economic, said, she herself doesn’t even understand the fine print on most contracts. HAving said that, I think we all need to be educated on the basic detail of what we are about to getting ourselves into, and the pro and con of the deal. Then we can make the decision. Instead of making it with our eyes blind.
To Mr. Paul Lavoie, the information you wrote have saved many people devastation. I for one thank you for your service by telling it like it is. Pure and simple. Karma: what comes around goes around. Happy Holiday, Paul.
I say, leave it up to the consumer. When you go into these places, they have to disclose what an item will cost you full term. So you can chose to buy with this option,or not.Simple isn’t it? Businesses like this were not just opened for fun. They were a reaction to what the consumer wants. That’s what makes this Country great. They are completely legal and highly regulated. It’s all out on the table folks. If you are ok with the costs involved, go for it. One benefit here is that if you can;t afford it down the road, you can return it. Later on, when you can afford it again, you can get it back and pick up where you left off. Credit cards do not offer that option. People who have the ability to save money or have enough on hand are not going to use this service anyway.Let’s face it, how many people these days have a grand sitting in their bank accounts? Plus people seem to forget that if you put something on credit, you are going to pay a large amount of interest! So if you think businesses like this are a rip off, then don’t utilize this option. If you have limited credit and need something, then go for it. Just be an educated consumer. I have used companies like this when I found myself divorced with nothing to my name! It certainly helped me regain some quality of life and made me feel good about myself.
So basically rent a center is an alternative way to furnish homes for low income people like me. I mean it’s an option, so I won’t complain about that, but I’m sure in the end I’ll be paying more than buying it straight up. I bet you though a lot of people right now don’t have a choice but to use such service and it might come in handy in hard times. It’d be nice to know how much it would cost roughly to rent a 32 inch TV for a year. Sometimes when you factor in the depreciation, you might actually come ahead renting. If you’re buying though, I wouldn’t bother.
Hey Paul- Please read the full review. We don’t actually recommend Rent-A-Center and gave it a “Thumbs Down” rating.
I can’t believe you would tell people to use Rent-A-Center when you know full well the things you buy, especially electronics, cost you 4 to 5 times the actual cost you could pay for them at a store like Walmart. Even the tv shows like Home Shopping Network and QVC will let you buy quality items on 3 to 4 payments with no credit checks. Go to Rent A Center and see the Mitsubishi 75 inch tv they have. You can buy this TV for less than a thousand dollars but at Rent A Center you will pay the total amount if you keep it to own it for the price that you could have bought 3 of these TVs. An employee of mine bought a dishwasher from them. He told me what the payment plan was. I made him return it and loaned him the money to buy a dishwasher at a local appliance store for kess than $360. Had he bought the same one from Rent A Center he would have ended up paying $1,644.00 for the same exact dishwasher. They rip off the people that can ill afford to pay these high prices. It is similiar to the pay day loans for people with bad credit. The interest on a televised ad for an Indian Reservation Loan Company that gives loans up to $10,000. without a credit check has a payback of, get this now, 866% interest. You will pay over $100,000. to borrow a measly $10,000. This is robbery and I think you should do your homework before you make recommendations.
I used to think Rent a center and things like that were a way to try to rip off the poor, but a friend of mine pointed out that the interest rate was less than a credit card.
Is it the best? No. The best is as you say, to save your money and buy the stuff outright. However, if you do have an empty apartment and you would like furniture (such as a bed, couch, just the basics) you’d be better off going with Rent a Center than you would a high interest credit card.