In April, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges against Progressive Leasing, a company that markets virtual rent-to-own payment plans to retail stores nationwide. Unlike traditional rent-to-own companies, Progressive does not operate its own brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, Progressive markets its rent-to-own payment plans to consumers who shop at certain retail stores or websites, primarily those in the furniture, appliance, jewelry, mattress, automobile, electronics and mobile phone industries.
The Federal Trade Commission‘s settlement of charges against Progressive Leasing LLC reveals several important signals for national advertisers concerning FTC priorities and enforcement trends including: the intersection of online and offline representations; the materiality and the commission’s inferences about raw complaint volume; the strong commission consensus for muscular enforcement, including financial penalties and consequences; and even more aggressive partisan considerations, including a desire for personal liability for individual company officers.
Progressive Leasing is a case where the advertiser failed to clearly disclose the total price of the rent-to-own plans it sold. But the settlement says a lot more about the FTC’s propensity to seek equitable monetary relief from national advertisers. It also illustrates the contrast in policy perspectives between the Republicans and the Democrats on the commission today.
Read about the full case here.