Rent-To-Own Retailers Remain Regulated


The Joint Finance Committee voted last night against a plan to exempt the rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin’s Consumer Act.

The committee voted 10-6 to defeat the plan that would have let rent-to-own companies operate in Wisconsin without disclosing their interest rates. Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman, normally an outspoken opponent of the rent-to-own industry, kept quiet as five GOP Senators and four Democrats joined him in voting to take the exemption out of the budget.

Assembly Republicans, including Finance Committee co-Chair John Nygren, supported the rent-to-own proposal and wanted to keep it in. Nygren said the issue would return after the budget in a separate, stand-alone bill.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“There is a legal and appropriate use of this product. So we can focus on the negative, which is going to win the day. But there is an appropriateness of this product and this business, and it’s unfortunate that we’re not going to be able to have that discussion today.”

Thursday night’s vote was just the latest in a long line of defeats for the rent-to-own industry in Wisconsin. The industry says 47 other states have laws that explicitly regulate rental-purchase companies. Critics say there’s nothing in Wisconsin that prevents them from operating here as long as they disclose their high interest rates.