Understand the contract before renting to own appliances

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DENVER -- Renting to own is a great choice when you can't commit to buying expensive appliances,  but if something goes wrong once you plug them in you could be in hot water.

Gareth Erwin and Heidi Knight told the FOX31 Problem Solvers they decided to rent a washer and dryer because it was convenient.

The home video they shared with FOX31 shows while using the washing machine, water started shooting from the hose, threatening the hot water heater and expensive equipment.

They also said the dryer shorted out their fuse box.

Consumer protection experts say most rent-to-own businesses have customers sign off on the installation of appliances.

If something goes wrong, the business will send in a team to investigate how the problem occurred, then determine if anything must be replaced.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau recommends doing three things before renting to own.

  1. Read your contract,  especially the part about who is liable in the case of any damage
  2. Ask who determines the damage estimate
  3. Demand a clear time frame for an investigation, so things don`t get dragged on and on while you deal with the fallout

The Better Business Bureau also has the following advice for anyone considering renting furniture or appliances:

  • Start with Trust®. Visit bbb.org and research thoroughly before choosing a rent-to-own company. Specifically, review the volume of complaints and how they were resolved.
  • Read all terms and conditions of the contract carefully before signing. Determine what fees may be associated with the transaction, who is responsible for repairs or maintenance and what happens after a late or missed payment.
  • Confirm the payment plan in writing. Make sure you know, in writing and orally, the total dollar amount and number of rental payments you have to make before you take ownership of the product.
  • Develop a budget and stick to it. Only rent the items that you absolutely need so you do not find yourself trapped in multiple payment contracts at a time.
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