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Secrets of Rent to Own Stores: Negotiating The Best Price

Updated on June 4, 2013

Many people are familiar with the concept of Rent To Own or RTO for short. I'm sure you have seen the ads on TV where you can get your first week free on a brand new flat screen TV or no payments till a certain date on any item in the store. These are just some of the few ways RTO stores try to get you to come into their stores and sign your name on a rental agreement.

What you may not be familiar with, when you walk into your local Rent A Center, Aarons, or local mom and pop RTO store is that you as the customer have most of the power in this business transaction. Rent to Own companies have spent fortunes trying to get you to walk through their store and it's because a certain stigma has been placed on this type of transaction. Most people would rather save up their pennies and once they have enough go to a retailer and purchase a TV, others may have good credit and are able to purchase that TV on a credit card, so the person who walks into a Rent to Own store is a special breed of person and it took every ounce of persuasion on the part of the RTO company to get you to walk into their store.

So what do you do with this power? As you walk into the store, you will see various items of merchandise, all cleaned up and polished, ready and waiting to be taken to your home. You'll see a fresh price tag telling you if the merchandise is new or previously owned, you'll see how many weeks or months you'll have to make payments, and you'll see the monthly or weekly cost to own the merchandise. Warning if you do not see all of these things after walking into the store, leave immediately or you will probably find yourself in the hands of amateurs who will give you the worst customer service you could imagine.

On closer inspection of the price tag you will see the total cost to own a piece of merchandise in the store, and most people who see the total cost will probably run out of the store as fast as they can, because the prices are normally astronomical. This leads to the first secret of the RTO industry. The total cost you see on the price tag is negotiable.

Rent to Own companies use a specific pricing matrix which determines how much they can charge for a new or previously rented piece of merchandise. Normally they will determine the condition of the merchandise, and based on the condition they will set it for a certain amount of weeks or months. This means that if a person rented a big screen TV for a year, but they kept it in really good shape, the RTO store can rent it out in like new condition, and charge you top dollar for the TV. Think of how many times a piece of merchandise can be rented like this, before the condition is so poor that the RTO company needs to cash sell it.

If you are looking to get the best deal you can possibly get on a piece of merchandise from an RTO store the following techniques will help you immensely:

  1. Inspect the merchandise carefully. Look for scratches, tears, dust or anything that will indicate how new this merchandise is.
  2. Ask the sales person how old the merchandise is. If they don't give you a straight answer, walk away from the deal, because you are not dealing with a person of integrity. RTO companies keep records of when a product was purchased, and all the sales person has to do is look it up for you.
  3. After you are armed with your evaluation of the condition, and the age of the product you are looking to buy, you can then ask the sales person if they can come down on that total cost.

Using these three simple steps can literally save you hundreds of dollars off the total cost on a piece of merchandise. You as the customer hold all the cards at the negotiation table when you are dealing with a Rent to Own Company, and as long as you know what to look for, the sales person will have no choice but to come down on the price.


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    • PHILLYDREAMER profile image

      Jose Velasquez 5 years ago from Lodi, New Jersey

      Sounds like a cool idea, what gave you the idea to use that format?

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      i will try to publish Martin verse