(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Many consumers who don't have enough cash to buy household furnishings or expensive electronic devices turn to stores like Rent-a-Center and Aaron's, where they can rent the furniture and entertainment systems they want.
In time, renters can opt to buy the pieces they were loaned by continuing to make scheduled payments. But, as Consumer Reports warns, that might not be a smart option.
"We found that you could easily pay what's effectively a 100 to a 300 percent interest rate," Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports says.
Take a $600 laptop, for instance. At a rent-to-own store, shoppers can have the device for just $39 dollars a week. After about a year, they'd be able to own it but they would've spent $1,900 to make the laptop theirs.
"You could've bought three computers for that," Walker says.
She says using a high interest rate credit card "would still be a better deal than most of these rent-to-own deals."
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