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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

The Rent-to-Own Rip-off

The 2013-2015 biennial executive budget, proposed by Governor Walker, includes an exemption for the rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. Rent-to-own businesses are appliance and furniture retailers that arrange “lease agreements,” rather than typical installment or credit sales contracts. These leases are regulated as a form of credit because the consumer is buying a product over time and paying a very high premium over the product’s sale price.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Astronomical Rent-to-Own Prices, Interest Rates

A new report found that five rent-to-own stores in Rockford, IL on average charged an annual percentage rate of 221% and displayed outright cash purchase prices as much as two to seven times the cost of the same or similar products at other major retailers. The legislature is currently debating a controversial proposal in the executive budget proposal to provide a special exemption from the Wisconsin Consumer Act for the rent to own industry and which would eliminate the requirement to disclose an APR for Rent-to-Own products sold in Wisconsin.
 

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Media Hit | Transportation

State needs to build better transportation budget

The state needs a better transportation budget.  . . . .  One promising idea is a proposal from 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, WISPIRG and the state chapter of the Sierra Club to cut 10% from highway spending. The money would be used "to reduce bonding by $200 million, increase local road reimbursements by $82 million, and increase transit funding $21 million (a 10% increase in local road reimbursement and transit funding)," according to a news release the group issued last week.
 

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Scott Walker's rent-to-own budget provision brings strong reaction

Rent-to-own stores would be able to sell customers high-cost financing plans for televisions, appliances and other goods without disclosing their interest rates, under a provision in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget. In addition to exempting the industry from state consumer protection laws, the measure would cap how much wronged customers could get if they sued rent-to-own stores. The stores typically sell products under plans that cost buyers two or three times prices they would pay elsewhere, according to a report by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement of WISPIRG Director Bruce Speight Regarding Rent-to-own Provisions in State Budget

Carving out a special interest exemption for a predatory industry that traps consumers, especially low-income consumers, in a cycle of high-cost, perpetual debt is not good for Wisconsin’s economy and it’s not good for Wisconsin consumers.  Unfortunately, the executive budget proposal does exactly that for the rent-to-own industry.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Historic Day for Intercity Passenger Rail in Wisconsin

Governor Doyle announced today an agreement with Talgo, the Spanish train manufacturer, that will bring jobs to Wisconsin manufacturing and maintaining high-speed passenger rail. Also, the House Appropriations Committee approved $4 billion in federal funds for inter-city passenger rail; this is in addition to the $8 billion in high-speed passenger rail funds approved as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Gaps in Medical Research Result in Poorer Care and Higher Costs

A new report by the consumer watchdog Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) finds that for the majority of medical conditions, no studies exist to help doctors – and their patients – choose the most effective course of treatment.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Report Finds Stimulus Funding Decisions Missed Opportunity to Make Progress on Transportation

A new report released today by Smart Growth America, WISPIRG, and UEDA based on official data of the states' American Reinvestment and Recovery Act transportation funding decisions thus far, found Wisconsin in the bottom third of the state ranking for allocations that spur long-term growth  and capitalize on an opportunity to invest in a 21st century transportation system. The report shows that some states are moving aggresively to make badly needed repairs and prepare for a 21st century transportation system. Others are letting their roads and public transportation deteriorate, adding new capacity while they cannot take care of what they have.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Wisconsin Mayors Support Assembly Action on RTAs, Discuss Importance of Transit for Growing Wisconsin’s Economy

Wisconsin mayors and business leaders came together on Tuesday afternoon to tout the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) enabling legislation passed by the Assembly, to discuss the importance of enhanced public transportation networks to grow Wisconsin’s economy, and to urge the state Senate to keep the creation of RTAs moving forward in the budget. 

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