Rent-to-own options

June 27, 2011 2:00:32 PM PDT
Taking home a big screen TV or a shiny new laptop for just dollars per month can seem like a great idea.

But a new study from Consumer Reports finds some rent-to-own agreements are leaving shoppers paying a lot more than they anticipated.

The rent-to-own industry has been attractive to millions of consumers, in the wake of a credit crunch that left many unable to get a loan for big-ticket purchases.

The agreements typically don't require credit checks, and if you miss a payment you can return the item and walk away without penalty and without putting a ding in your credit score.

If you make all of the payments, the item is yours.

But a new Consumer Reports study finds some rent-to-own agreements come with extremely high interest rates attached.

Consumers paying 200, sometimes 300 percent interest by the time the deal is said and done.

"You want to sit down with a pencil and paper and really figure out what you're paying. Do some research, look online, look what the lowest price is," said

If it's a big screen tv or a brand new computer you're after, Consumer Reports advises waiting until you can buy it outright.