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Last updated: December 2003
The Illinois Rental-Purchase Agreement Act (815 ILCS 655/1 et. seq.) controls in any case where there is an agreement for the use of merchandise by a consumer for personal, family or household purposes, where the agreement:
Requirements for Form Agreements: Form agreements:
- confessions of judgment
- allowance of a breach of the peace to repossess
- waiver of any defenses or claims
- requirement to purchase of insurance
- requirement of a late fee or reinstatement fee unless the payment is more than 3 days late and the charge is not more than $5
- requirement of a payment at the end of the term in excess of or in addition to a regular periodic payment;
- whether the merchandise is new or used;
- the amount and timing of payments;
- the total number of payments necessary and the total amount to be paid to acquire ownership of the merchandise;
- the amount and purpose of any payment, charge or fee in addition to the regular periodic payments;
- whether the consumer is liable for loss or damage to the merchandise, and if so, the maximum amount for which consumer may be liable;
- that the consumer does not acquire ownership rights unless the consumer had complied with the ownership terms of the agreement, and
- the cash price of the merchandise, whether new or used.
A rent-to-own advertisement must clearly and conspicuously state:
If an item is displayed in the store and offered for rental-purchase, it must have attached to its front (or displayed just as prominently) a tag disclosing the amount to be paid to acquire ownership of the merchandise.
Any consumer who is actually damaged by a violation of this Act by a merchant is entitled to recover from the merchant:
The merchant can escape liability if, before suit is filed, or before the merchant receives written notice of the error from the consumer, the merchant gives the consumer written notice of the error and makes adjustments in the consumer’s account, as necessary, provided he does this within 31 days after discovering the error.
Intentional violations of the Act are criminal. The merchant is then guilty of a petty offense and can be fined not more than $500.
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