December 22, 1999
To: The New Jersey State Legislature
From: The New Jersey State Conference of NAACP Branches
Re: Opposition to A-1097/S-1343
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a long-time advocate of economic stability, including purchase and ownership. As President of the NJ NAACP I would like to take this opportunity to re-affirm the NAACP's opposition to A-1097 and S-1343.
This legislation would effectively exempt the Rent-to-Own industry from New Jersey's core consumer protections (Criminal Usury Statutes, Consumer Protection Act) and thereby codify their practices of charging consumers above the criminal usury limits. We have been working to insure that the fundamental issue in RTO reform legislation, including S-1343 and A-1097, is an elimination of any industry exemption from criminal usury rates. Until this exemption is eliminated, the NAACP will be opposed to any such legislation.
The New Jersey State Conference of NAACP Branches is committed to consumer protection and enforcement of consumer rights. Any anti-consumer practices, including those perpetrated by the RTO industry, must be reviewed. After all, economic stability and the protection of consumer rights are preambles to many other freedoms and rights. Rent-To-Own should be an avenue to such freedom, not a detour or financial 'gate keeper' for those consumers who are pursuing ownership.
Reverend William Rutherford