State Rep. Chris Rabb introduces legislation to protect consumers against predatory rent-to-own companies

HARRISBURG, March 31 -- State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila, introduced legislation that would ensure protections for low-income consumers from becoming victims of predatory and abusive rent-to-own contracts with corporate chains who use the criminal court system as retribution. 

Rent-to-own companies often resort to using the taxpayer-subsidized criminal court system in lieu of a collection agency to recover money from low-income individuals who can no longer afford to make payments and who are unable to cover the costs of effective legal counsel, according to Rabb. 

Rabb said by resorting to using criminal courts to threaten individuals who are struggling to make payments, “the RTO industry is contributing to the criminalization of poor people. It’s leading to a revival of the long abolished ‘debtor’s prisons.’” 

“There is no reason to permit this predatory practice and make consumers pay more than what is owed and more than they can afford,” Rabb said. “It’s time we stop making the poor pay more and protect them from abusive RTO contracts.” 

This legislation would make sure these predatory practices would be prohibited.