FTC Sends $172 Million in Refunds to Consumers Misled by Rent-To-Own Provider

moneyImage by Mary Pahlke

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission is returning more than $172 million to consumers who overpaid for merchandise they purchased using rent-to-own plans provided by Progressive Leasing. More than two million consumers will receive refund checks.

The FTC’s complaint against the company, filed in April 2020, alleged that Progressive misled consumers about the true price of items purchased through its plans. Consumers who visited retailers to buy items such as furniture, jewelry, or cellphones frequently were told that Progressive’s payment plans were “same as cash” or “no interest” – leading consumers to believe they would not be charged more than an item’s sticker price.

Instead, the complaint alleged, consumers paid more than the sticker price, and frequently paid approximately twice the sticker price if they made all their scheduled payments. The FTC also alleged that Progressive was aware of consumers’ confusion about the terms of their plans through tens of thousands of consumer complaints, with more than 15,000 complaints received just in one 15-month period.

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More than two million consumers are receiving refunds, averaging $85 each. Consumers who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Because of the large number of refunds, the checks will be mailed over the next two weeks. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.

Recipients who have questions about the redress payments, or who did not receive a payment but believe they are eligible should contact the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-877-625-9449.

The FTC’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of FTC refunds. In 2020, FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but recently the United States Supreme Court ruled the FTC lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the FTC’s ability to get money back for consumers.

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