In recent months, the rent-to-own furniture industry has gained attention in Texas. State officials have accused the industry, and especially the rent-to-own behemoth Rent-A-Center, of using deceptive and abusive practices against customers.
Now, as The Texas Tribune reports, the federal government has gotten involved in the case. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has sent investigators to Texas to uncover whether Rent-A-Center and other rent-to-own businesses are preying on low-income Americans who have no legal recourse to fight back.
An investigation by The Texas Tribune and the finance site NerdWallet has discovered that the rent-to-own industry has been using an obscure Texas law to send renters to jail when they are late on payments.
With more than 2,400 stores selling furniture and appliances nationwide, Rent-A-Center is the US’s largest rent-to-own company.