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Letters: Gouging the poor with leased tires

June 12, 2013

Re "Tire rentals capitalize on the flat broke," June 9

It's hard to imagine a more Orwellian bluster than one rent-to-own maven's boast about sensing a "tremendous opportunity serving people" who need tires.

In this realm of charging usurious loan rates to people who can't afford to pay for new tires upfront, "serving" equates to "exploiting."

What matters most to those running rent-to-own businesses is profit. These people have no qualms about how their contracts' extortionate terms serve to keep poor people from getting ahead (and to think that those dead set against prudent regulation cite the "upward mobility" of the poor).

With the example of a rent-to-own tire customer paying an annual rate of 120% interest (many times what typical credit cards impose), it's time legislators stopped such bald-faced usury. Why not limit the tire stores to an annual rate of, say, 60%?

Given the "high profit potential" noted in comparison to other rent-to-own commodities, the tire sellers — excuse me, lessors — should still do quite well.

Greg Gilbert

Cool, Calif.


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