Everyone knows that, when buying pretty much any kind of merchandise, paying with cash is by nearly all accounts the best option. Sometimes, though, cash isn't in plentiful supply for the average American consumer, and some items need to be procured post haste. Enter the wide world of credit.

But what if you don't have a credit card? For many consumers, the rent-to-own industry is waiting in the wings to provide the item they need with a payment plan they can afford. One consumable we'd never have imagined for the rent-to-own business, though, is tires. Somewhat surprisingly, it's apparently a booming business.

Back in the heyday of the early 2000s, a number of businesses sprouted to provide consumers will new wheels for their cars and trucks – mostly gaudy oversize chrome ones, we imagine – but that business model dried up when the recession set in. The solution, according to Ken Butler, chief operating officer for rent-to-own superpower Aaron's, was to offer the customer something they'd need instead of something they merely want.

Bingo. Tires are a necessity for every car and truck on the road, and, in case you haven't gone tire shopping recently, they're expensive. Thing is, they are also wear items, and we're not certain how that works into such a rental scheme. If nothing else, it makes these parting words from Butler sound somewhat ironic: "The sustainable part, the legitimate business, is the tires."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's called "Rent to Own" only because charging poor people 100% interest looks bad.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you can't even afford the goddamn tires, then you can't afford the freakin' car. Yeah, I get it that sometimes folks get into (supposedly temporary) money issues, but if tires are the things that they have to "rent" then obviously they are over-extended to begin with. Mix in a poorly educated general population with little-to-no financial savvy, with easy access to unscrupulous deals with presumably lots of fine-print and you have a recipe for disaster.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Rent to own" in regard to anything other than a house is a scam. People who "rent to own" appliances normally don't have the money to buy them outright, but they lose so much more money (rent to own can cost 2-3 times what the item would normally cost). Decisions like that are why some people will always be poor. I understand it's not illegal, but I don't think I could do it for a living. It's unethical.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wait, why is this "renting"? Sounds just like financing to me; setting up a plan for payments to settle a debt. It's not like a person plans on returning the tires as they would with a car or an apartment unit. Either way, the poor people who'll buy into this will be charged much more than they would have to pay outright.
      • 3 Years Ago
      rent to own doesnt make any sort of financial sense, the people who do it are likely the same ones who go to check cashing stores instead of opening up a free checking account at a bank
      stuck in 90s
      • 3 Years Ago
      rent to own tires ?? by the time you "own" the tires... the worn tires would have owned you ... this is exactly the same as paying for your drinking water... worst yet... because no way out... with water you still have tap...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wouldn't mind renting a set of fresh, pre-mounted track wheels and tires for a day for $50 rather than spending $2,000 to have the set, since I don't track my car. Problem with that is that the rental place would have to keep track of how many miles were on any particular tire, and putting on half gone tires for track duty isn't very safe.
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would love to rent a set of tires for a few hundred miles. See how they perform and compare them to the other tires I'd considering buying.
      Tall Tex
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is not a new concept, this exact business has been operating in Houston for at least 10 years. Operating since 1996. www.rentatire.com
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I am financially in such a bad situation, I would go for used ones. This rent to own is too expensive and for sure a scam.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Man, gimme 12 months and i'd have 4 or 5 plans totalling more than my car is worth! Glad i have a tyre place that looks after me.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not so much renting as it is paying way too much over a longer period of time.
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