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Rent-to-Own Operators Allegedly Collude to Reduce Competition

  • The FTC approved settlements with rent-to-own operators Aaron’s Inc., Buddy’s Newco, LLC, and Rent-A-Center, Inc., to resolve allegations that they engaged in anticompetitive behavior by negotiating and executing reciprocal purchase agreements with each other in violation of the FTC Act.
  • The FTC complaints against Aaron’s, Buddy’s Newco, and Rent-A-Center, alleged that each company entered into anticompetitive reciprocal agreements that swapped customer contracts from one rent-to-own store to another, enabling one party to the agreement to close down stores and exit a geographic market. Store closures resulted in reduced competition in the rent-to-own market and may have additionally impacted consumers by increasing their travel time and costs.
  • Under each of their consent orders, among other things, Aaron’s, Buddy’s Newco, and Rent-A-Center, and their respective franchisees, are prohibited from negotiating or entering into any reciprocal purchase agreements and from enforcing non-compete clauses from previous agreements.