MARKETPLACE: EPISODE #37-09 | Broadcast on April 2, 2010
Erica Johnson puts supermarket fish to the test: are you really getting what you pay for? CommentComment
What's the real story behind the prices at Easyhome? CommentComment
What's the real story behind the prices at Easyhome?
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Erica Johnson asks: What's the real story behind the prices at Easyhome?
text Erica Johnson puts supermarket fish to the test: are you really getting what you pay for?
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Many Canadians are unable to buy with cash or credit, so they turn to rent-to-own leasing companies like easyhome.

When you walk in, easyhome looks just like any other furniture store the only difference is the prices are by the week. The weekly prices make it all sound so affordable: nine dollars a week for a table set, sofas from 17 dollars a week, and stoves for just 12 dollars a week.

But we do the math, and discover the hidden costs at easyhome. The base prices on products can be much higher than regular retail prices, and then a high-rate of interest is added to that amount.

In some cases, when comparable retail prices are used, it's like paying up to 512 per cent interest on a product.

As Erica Johnson reveals, its not easy getting the real story behind the prices at easyhome.

Related Links:

textIndustry Canada, Office of Consumer Affairs, Consumer Handbook: Tips for consumers considering rent to own

textOption Consommateurs report: "Rent-to-own : portrait of an industry and its clientele"

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Posted on April 2, 2010 CommentBookmark, Email & Share
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The target consumer is a LOW income, or the working poor. They need stuff, too! (The arrogance of some people is appalling.... move to a cheaper neighborhood...really? You mean that?) Low income often equals poor school skills or a lack of life experience. When they don't have a $150 bucks up front for a couch from the second hand store, but they can get a nice new one for "13 bucks a week", they choose the nice new one.
How many people finance their car vs. paying cash? Anybody have a mortgage? When you don't have the cash to pay up front, you finance. Unfortunately, personal finance is not given its justice in high school math curriculums.

How is easy home taking advantage of anyone here???

Buying their goods is totally VOLUNTARY for the consumer. They aren't selling shelter, water, food, or gasoline... so I don't see how anyone can say they are taking advantage of anyone or forcing them to do anything. Nobody's forcing low income people to buy brand new laptops or flat screen TVs.

Also, how hard is it to look at a price tag (say 9 bucks) and the lease term (say 3 years) and go (9x52)x3 on a piece of paper or calculator? Jesus Murphy CBC; the education system can't be that bad? Can it?

And that couple... looks to me like they live in a pretty nice flat and have really nice stuff. Maybe they wouldn't be so hard up if they downsized, moved into a cheaper neighbourhood, and quit trying so hard to keep up with the joneses. How can I feel sorry for anyone like that?

No one is busted here. They are providing a service for people that don't have credit to purchase 3000$ and pay it off over months, or don't have 3000 to do a direct payment. If you bought something for $400 at one place and another place was selling the same thing for $300, it's not that places fault for not telling you that the guy next by was selling it for less. Your responsible for your own shopping, not the retailer.

I used to be a manager of Easy home back when it was a Rentown.
Back then the extra charge to stores was Home Office essentially adding the mark up and its shipping to each store. This in no way explains or justifies the enormous cost.
I had a conscience and being aboriginal realized they were a "target market".
Managers of these stores are at the mercy of the upper echelon whom fill these young managers with empty promises, and tell them to grow a store at almost any cost. When some asks how much something costs, they generally reply."Oh dont worry about that...Your renting it, what do you care. You cant get the credit right?"
Ask Gord Redkyl the owner of rentcash inc.

As an employee of easyhome for 5 years I can tell you that in our store the customer ia always made fully aware of what they are paying. Our contract actually states what our 90 day buyout is before the interest rate is added and what it is after the interest rate.

If your reporter wanted the truth instead trying to sensationalize like most reporters do, they would have shown our contract and explained it on air.

First we put full warranty on all our products. Where can you purchase a washer and get a three year loaner service warranty. That's right! If the washer has to leave their home for service, we provide a loaner to the customer. The customer is paying for the service we provide to them also.

You also have the option to buy out the product at anytime. And oh by the way our computer lease for 2 years and not 3.

When I phoned easyhome to ask about their plan (I hadn't seen this program yet). I asked about what if i made bulk payments and they replied that 55% of the payment goes to easyhome and only 45% goes to the cost of the goods. That's crazy. The example I used was $1,000. According to what he said even if I paid $500 per month it would still cost me around $2100

So what else can you do if you have no credit rating and a low income job. I don't see anyone offering any alternatives. Easyhome would not thrive if there was no market for their wares.

Is there no such a thing as buyer beware. Postings here are talking about peoples basic math skills...what about their reading skills. Do these people not have to sign an agreement? Does it not state the price that the customer will be paying in the end?

I cannot look at these customers in the show as victims of easyhome. No one forced them into dealing with easyhome and this sounds like buyers remorse. But if they don't agree with what they are paying,return the product. Last time I checked easyhome had no hassle returns.

The bottom line is that as long as people continue to live above their means credit card companies, easyhomes, and all other buy-now-pay-later businesses will continue to flourish.

As an employee of Easyhome I find it shame full that no one from our company defended easyhome, or took the time to explain the high risk that we deal with and high charge offs!! Easyhome does charge alot but also looses alot!!

Captain Awesome needs a reality check, but has a point nonetheless. I recall investigating Rent to Own a number of times in the past when I had no bank balance and no credit. My eventual decision was to not do it, attractive as it seemed at the time. I had more than enough math and smarts to keep out of a deal that was going to cost too much

But Easy Home and stores like it are in the same class of stores as those cheque cashing outlets. The people who use such places tend to be less educated, even illiterate. They don't have the income to fork out a few hundred for a TV or Stereo. Throw in the lure of a big screen TV or a higher end stereo, or decent looking furniture rather than Salvation Army fodder, and the temptation is huge. It is seductive. Even though Captain and I may be "smarter", some simply do not have the education. It is those people who need protecting.

Eazy Home is simply taking advantage of people, just because they may not have the best of credit or cash on hand. 512% interest is nuts! I can understand some markup, but this is a level of craziness.

They should be required to post the base price they are using to come up with the "rental" price.

This drives home why I would never use a company like this.

I agree with Captain Awesome. I loved the show and agree that Easyhome needs to be exposed. However, I also think that young consumers need to have some common sense. It may make sense for a young couple to rent the furniture they desperately need. But that couple probably didn't need a $3000 laptop. Also though, in Easyhome's defense, I'm sure they have losses due to their clientelle and I believe they allow rental items to be returned at any time, no contract involved. The couple featured in the show could return the laptop and cut their losses. If they bought it from Future Shop, on credit, they would be stuck with it.

i think easy home should be closed down and put out of business,they are charging way to much for there products,they should give people there money back for over charging them,

I noticed that in this skit they also failed to mention that a customer can buy out furniture at any time or make a bulk payment to lower their payment. I have furnished my whole house with Easyhome. They deliever, set up and also provide with with the service that if anything goes wrong while I have any of the product that I can get it repaired at no cost to me. This is for my full lease and also for 6 months after I buy out. I have even leased a sofa set for a couple months and then decided that I wanted a different set, so I switched out for a newer model, for no extra charge and they put my all the money I put into the lease on the new set.

This is a service that I provides me and people like me the opertunity to have nice things when I cant elsewise afford it. I think people need to check their facts.

if you watch the episode once more you will clearly see you had a number cruncher look at the cost to try to understand it and so seeing as i am not a number cruncher and thought it was illegal to charge more then the 29.9 percent i did not know any different also seeing as they have as many customers as they do i dont think i am the only one just one that thought enough was enough and that every one should know so thank you for you comments "Captain Awesome"

Hello there folks;
WOW cbc has got it all figured out ....amazing...cant put anything past them.....WOW!!!!!!!! Did you ever think to go to a high risk car dealership and ask to buy a car with no or bad credit and they said sure we will sell you a a much higher cost! How about this...let cbc start a rent to own leasing company and tell me how they make out...lets see them in action or better yet if they think its not high risk ....go ahead I dare ya......Anything that is leased is always at a higher level of cost......I wonder how long it took or even if they figured that one out....WOW!!! There is no hidden cost ....ask and you shall be told..does cbc even know the benfits you get at easyhome?????? Well my mother always told me nothing in life is for true!!!! I guess cbc failed to mention the benefits....Ill leave it up to the consumers to figure it out!!!!

I am a fan of the show but you missed the mark on this one. For the most part, this company deals with people that no one else will touch on credit. The losses due to skipping or theft through conversion (pawning) are HUGE. You compare this business to retail and carry the premise through the show, but they are not in the retail business - at all. I used to work in the industry and could not wait to get out of it - not because I felt my integrity was being tested, but because I was ill equipped to continue to try to get people to honor the contract and subsequently having to act as a repo man. I was threatened at knife point on one occassion. If the clientelle were essentially honest, there would be no huge write offs and they would be just another retail furniture store. By the way - none of the people I sold to did not do the math and know that 36 x $25 is way more than retail.

Maybe CBC should get their facts straight. Not once did they mention any benefit of LEASING to own. Not to mention they try to stay on the base pricing, of course there is no base price.. That is what retailers do, people that finance or sell. There is a complete difference. Go to any car dealership and look at their leasing, it is of course way more than just buying it as well, at least with Easyhome there is no balloon payment, you just own it when the lease is done.

I am an instructor in an adult education setting. I work with students on a daily basis that are paying Easy Home, rent to own prices. Is it possible to get a copy of the episode on Easy Home to use as a teaching tool?

that charge a very high interest rate.
Also we took notice that while you were comparing prices you compared one at a cash price and the other at a leasing price, if the customer were to finance these products through a finance company you would find that the are very comparable to ours and we won't force you to bankruptcy if you can not afford the payments any longer, we also notice that you went to only one store to speak with someone, why was it that no one at our head office was called and asked to explain how are pricing is done.

As an employee of easyhome i like to say that you sitting back as an individual pulling in a regular pay cheque and not having to worry about your line of credit can critize a store such as easyhome. However not everyone is as fortunate as yourself, some people can not afford to go out a purchase product instantly and have to rely on companies such as easyhome to give them a chance when no one else will. You should also mention the benefits that we also offer, at which other retail furniture store can you return product because you can no longer afford it or trade up to another product. If we were to retail our product we can beat the prices at local retail stores, we are a high risk company dealing with people with bad credit. If a person files for bankruptcy and then decides they want a new car can they get one, sure but not through a bank, they have to go through a finance company

The story claimed that people need to be "math wizzes" not to fall for this. Well, if you cannot do a one step multiplication problem (price per week X number of weeks), I have no sympathy for you. Two seconds worth of math and a tiny bit of research about the value of the items you want is all it takes.

It's yet another symptom of our materially obsessed credit culture. If you cannot afford the newest and best, you DO WITHOUT or you save until you can. You need furniture or appliances, then you buy used.

The laptop is a perfect example of how people are constantly trying to live beyond their means. If you can afford $20 a week, then you put it away until you can afford to purchase it outright. In 3 months you would have enough for a perfectly serviceable computer. In 6 months you would have enough for a great computer, and it would give you time to shop around for the best price.

I am a current employee of EH and have been for almost 2 yrs. Before I was at EH, I was at Insta-Rent @ The Brick.
So in total, I have been in the industry for 6 yrs. I just want to note that EH is NOT like how this show is aired.
We do offer cash prices for the customer that wants to just pay cash without entering into a lease agreement at a more
competitive rate. If the customer wants to enter into a lease agreement, of course there is interest that is added,
just like when you finance or lease a vehicle. You really need to get all facts straight and all sides of the story.

You got that backwards there Capt... Not knowing math doesn't make a person stupid. Comments like yours does though.

Look into the way the Auto maker's zero interest programs work. The real interest rate is far from zero - probaly over the 60% legal limit - because they jack up the cash price.

All of this is in violation of the Criminal Code. Under section 347 any charge which would not exist if you did not use credit is interest. Never-the-less they say get a zero interest rate or pay thousands less if you pay cash.

I cannot believe people don't do basic research before entering into a rent-to-own scenario. To the couple who paid $29 per week for over a 100 weeks for their Gateway laptop, they could have easily found the full retail price for this product online and realized they would be paying more than double with easyhome. It's their own fault for not having some common sense and basic financial literacy. Not to mention that they could not afford such items in the first place. Hello??? No cash and unable to get credit??? You shouldn't be spending money on extravagant items people.

As a single mother of 4 kids, after a messy divorce left with the larger part of creditor debt, NO ONE and I mean NO ONE would touch me when it came time to purchase anything for my home. Yes I understand the Easyhome rip off - but what is the alternative when your washing machine breaks down and then your cat pees on your couch so you need a new one all in one week. I have never looked for a hand out only a hand up and in Canada we don't believe in second chances for people who have or had bad credit. I own everything in my home now after 2 years with Easyhome - yes I probably paid through the nose - but thank you, thank you, thank Easyhome for allowing me to feel human as weird as that may seem.

I disagree with this spot also. Easyhome offers a service that is unlike any other retailer, and might i add that easyhome is NOT a retailer. Easyhome will come and move you if you need to move. If you TV is broken they will pick it up and bring you one to use while uyours is being fixed ( also covered by easyhome)Get your story straight and tell the public the WHOLE story.

Most people are aware they just have no other options. This company prays on them!

Excellent coverage of EASYHOME

I watched the EASYHOME dancing around no cash save your capital ads and each item $48 / week for x $32 / week for y etc easy..RIGHT !
how long did the consumer determine their need?
send the couch back after 3 weeks of luxury the 50" TV gone in 18 weeks at $53 per week and if you take the weekly price and x52 for a year the rental is usurious and yet the consumer DOES NOT OWN property.

I am writing a book on scams and fraud and this is an investigative issue I wish to include. Please advise what Acknowledgement and source credit is necessary. I am going to conduct consumer investigative review of EASYHOME and hopefully get a copy of a contract.

CBC Marketplace great reporting. ... ps the RICH DAD show and the seminar undercover work absolutely first class

I agree with Captain Awesome. I'm a customer at easyhome and I was told right from the begining what my product would cost if I paid every month for the full term. What this episode DID NOT explain, is that we, the customer can pay our product off sooner and save MEGA dollars. The program is designed to help us, the consumer, enjoy the luxuries we may not be able to get other wise. Obviously the person interviewed on this episode has a grudge against easyhome. What boggles my mind, is then why are they still renting the cumputer from easyhome???

Thats funny, they don't show the customers that bought a good shape sofa and love for $400 plus tax!!! thing is anyone can make someone look bad with payment "structure" crap even the retailers will hide behind there payment "plans"! the fact of the matter is that there was no talk of the possible 4 year waranty that could be attained, no talk of coverage the customer has for product, no talk of "free" moving services, this show is a joke, why didn't the host ask what she could buy it for today, to make her "interest quotes" better! I as a customer have bought out lots of product, and also no mention of payment plan reductions for "on-time" payers like me! I enjoy Easyhomes business, 1 and 1/2 years into a "reduction payment plan" and if I get a virus Easyhome fixes me up!!at some stores thats a hundred dollar value! what if I did that 5 times I owned it! this show is a joke!

I disagree with Captain Awesome. EasyHome is clearly operating from a place of dishonesty and lack of integrity. Companies like this are a threat to humanity and should be regulated and fined. Credit card companies are regulated on the interest rates they can charge. EasyHome should not get away with 150% and 500% interest rates just because they're selling a good instead of loaning money.

i find that you didn't elaborate on easyhome's comments that they state "they are not a retailer" they are a leasing company. is there any difference for enflated cost as to leasing a car? you pay thousands for the lease alone, then if you want to buy the vehicle you pay thousands more! as for the couple featured on your broadcast, if money is that limited why are they renting a laptop? that seems to be a luxury, not a priority! i find that your report is flawed based on comparing retail to leasing, it's apples and oranges.

I believe that the statement made by EasyHome said it all. They state that they are not a retail store. That they are providing goods to people who otherwise would not be able to purchase or have the credit to purchase from "regular" stores. Although I feel their marketing schemes are not clear in explaining the total paid price, they are entitled to charge more to lease furniture, computers or flat screen televisions to people who very well may default on their lease. If people can't afford these things, they should not buy them. People are always free to choose to buy older, used goods as well.

I also disagree with the direction this video has taken. I myself own several items that i have "lease to owned" from an Easyhome in my area. It was a way for me to get the things that my family needed, without a large cash outlay. I think the people that have created this are in financial situations where they would not have to ever use a convenient service such as this. And unfortunately since there are alot of crooks out there, the interest is high to offset the people that they give chances to that don't deserve it. There is also payout options that make the price a portion of what minimum payment would make the cost of these products. Just like making minimum payments on a credit card.... you pay more than you need to, for simple convenience.

I agree with Captain Awesome....what Easyhome is stating for a base price is irrelevant, if you cannot do the basic math to figure out what it is going to cost you in the end, then you deserve to be screwed. They are providing a service and they signed up for it, now they are crying your homework people.

I'm sorry, but I disagree with the point this episode is trying to make. The retailer only provides a way for somebody to rent to own, but it's the consumers who should be busted for being too stupid and not being able to do basic math.

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