New TV for the Superbowl? Don’t Fumble with Rent to Own.

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You may be tempted to buy a new TV for the big game with nothing down at a rent-to-own store. Bad idea.

It was an OT field goal that sent the New Orleans Saints into Superbowl XLIV. On February 7th, the Colts will faceoff against the Saints–but fans are already partying, “big easy” style.

Already making plans with a party of your own? Of course watching the big game on a new 60″ plasma would be great, but be careful if you’re thinking about finding one cheap at a rent-to-own place.

The ads are catchy and seem like a good idea, “Rent to own a 50-inch plasma TV in easy, affordable installments”.

So if low cost and convenience are the attraction, what’s the problem? Simple: price. According to a survey by the US Public Interest Research Group, by the time they complete their purchase, rent-to-own customers typically pay up to 5 times retail value.

Just need it for a day? Not so fast. Stores like Rent-A-Center require a minimum of a 4-week rental period. Which means game night at your house could have you sacked with more than you bargained for. According to a Rent-A-Center spokesperson, the one month minimum service is required to cover a truck and two employees to deliver and setup the television. However, if you have a truck and a friend–why would you pay someone to move the unit for you?

If you really must use a rent-to-own be careful. Ask questions like:

  • Are there going to be taxes and/or fees on top of your payments?
  • Will there be late charges?
  • If you do pay late, do you break your contract and have to start over?
  • What if your stuff is lost or stolen or breaks? Who’s responsible?
  • What other payment options are available?

Better ideas to get a TV for less?

  • Use Lay-aways
  • Check scratch and dent sections at electronic stores
  • Watch for garage and estate sales
  • Buy a display model
  • Don’t buy a new TV yet: meet up with friends at a sports bar

Oh, and here’s one more idea: it won’t happen before this superbowl, but you can enter to win a 40″ HDTV from Money Talks News. Click here to learn how.

Stacy Johnson

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