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UNDERSTANDING PREDATORY LENDERS

Avoid Pawn Shops. Pawn Shops have been around for hundreds of years. They take in goods of value, making loans against them as security. Here’s how they typically work:

  • Customer brings in an item
  • Pawn shops tells customer how much it’s worth
  • Gives customer a loan for that amount
  • A fee is also added to the loan amount
  • The loan is usually due in two weeks
  • If the loan is not paid back, the item can be sold by the pawn shop. Or, an individual can renew the loan and pay another fee.
  • Interest rates may be in the range of 200-500% annually
  • (Source: NeighborWorks America)

2. Beware of Rent-to-Own companies. A product priced at $500.00 could cost you more than four times that amount over a two-year period from a Rent-To-Own retailer. There is no legal limit on late fees, so your total cost may be excessive. If you don’t pay on time, Rent-To-Own stores will repossess, leaving you without the goods and your money. (Source: CDR Lissa Ann Wohltmann, USN. “Beware the Small Print when Getting a Short Term Loan” – Navy Lifelines, reviewed January 30, 2006).

Here’s an actual example of a Rent-To-Own purchase of a washer and dryer:

Navy Exchange