Your consumer rights in Vermont: buying retail and rent-to-own

We all get them in our mailboxes and on our doorsteps – those colorful flyers advertising the “Biggest Sale Ever!” or the “Lowest Prices of the Year”. We may see signs for a big “Going out of business – Everything Must Go!” sale in the window of a local store.

Sometimes the deals are real. Sometimes, though, the deals really are “too good to be true.”

As a Vermonter, you have certain rights in the retail and rent-to-own marketplace. Vermont’s Consumer Protection Rules prohibit certain kinds of deceptive advertising, pricing and sales tactics that are only designed to trick consumers into something they don’t want to do. Here are some examples:

  • The “Bait and Switch”: Ads feature a popular item at a great price, but when you get the store, all of those items are mysteriously sold out, and only a more expensive or inferior product is available.
  • The “Un-sell”: Ads draw you in for a great deal on a product you want, but when you get there, the sales person only wants to show you something else… for a worse deal.
  • The “Huge Discount!!”: Unbelievable discounts that turn out to be… unbelievable. Stores inflate the “former price” by huge margins to claim big discounts, when the real market price discount is actually much smaller.
  • The “Renting is your best value”: Rent-to-own ads that claim you can save money by renting instead of buying out right. Compare the interest and total costs to buying with cash, or even on a credit card.
  • The “You Won!” Contest: Shiny, official-looking ads that appear like lottery tickets, claiming you won a big prize, but when you go to the business to claim your winnings, all you get is a bum deal.

Don’t get caught un-prepared, know your consumer rights and, if you have questions or concerns, call us at 800-649-2424!