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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 | Health Care

New Report: Health Care Reform Can Save Wisconsin $54.5 Billion

Health care reform might cost $1 trillion, but it can ultimately save the nation $3 trillion, with billions of dollars of benefits for every state in the union, including $54.5 billion in Wisconsin, a new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group notes.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Survey: Wisconsin Small Businesses Crushed by Rising Health Costs

Wisconsin small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released by Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group on Main Street, Madison today.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Study: Wisconsin Has Better Reporting on Economic Stimulus Spending Than Most States But Still Needs Improvement

A new study of official state websites focusing on the federal stimulus program finds that Wisconsin ranks better than most states but still needs to improve the quality of its online reporting.

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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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