The Department of Labor reported this week that a record 6.65 million people filed for unemployment from March 22 to March 28. It was the largest single-week increase in unemployment claims in American history, and that number is expected to rise even higher in the coming weeks. U.S. employers reported cutting 701,000 jobs in March, while the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 3.5% in February. These statistics begin to paint the picture of a new reality in the rent-to-own world, one in which dealers increasingly will need to work with customers while they navigate through job loss and unemployment. With this in mind, we want to highlight some membership programs that can help RTO dealers and customers during these uncertain times.
APRO members PTS Financial Services and Benefit Marketing Solutions offer membership clubs with financial services tailored to the needs of RTO dealers and customers. These club membership programs may provide insurance protection for customers’ rental merchandise and lease agreement obligations, as well as many other discounts, rebates and benefits. The club memberships charge a fee to the dealer, and may come with product customization, marketing and training support. Dealers can then sell the rebranded benefits packages to customers as an add-on to rental agreements.
Involuntary unemployment insurance is available as an option with the club packages. With this option, if customers suffer involuntary job loss, they can bring proof of the job loss to their dealer. The dealer then contacts the benefits provider, who processes the claim and covers the rent-to-own obligation according to the contract. This coverage saves both customers and dealers from the hassle and financial difficulty of a broken lease agreement.
PTS Financial Services offers dealers a rental protection club program with an involuntary unemployment coverage benefit applies when the customer has involuntary and permanent job loss, such as through a layoff or if their employer goes out of business. “At PTS we offer our RTO dealers a wide range of benefits and supporting our unemployment waiver is one of them,” says CEO Tony Farrell. “During this pandemic, we are offering several out-of-the-box benefits to our dealers.”
Dealers can learn more about the PTS membership club program here.
Benefit Marketing Solutions offers what it describes as “quality membership programs with unparalleled service, value and reliability.” The company’s involuntary unemployment benefit covers a customer’s lease obligation in case of permanent or temporary job loss. “BMS understands everyone is struggling at this time,” says President Susan Matthews. “We are excited to be able to help our customers who have Involuntary Unemployment in their Club program. This benefit can help make payments for Club members who have been laid-off, furloughed or have experienced company closure.”
Dealers can learn more about the BMS membership club program here.
With the COVID-19 pandemic driving unemployment claims to record highs, club membership with one of the providers above is an option that can bring stability and peace of mind to dealers and customers facing uncertain times.