UPDATED!! Best Buy is in the process of rolling out a lease-to-own program that will include car audio items, according to a half dozen Best Buy locations.
The lease-to-own program was also referenced on a Best Buy call with analysts today.
Individual Best Buy stores we contacted said the program allows consumers to lease a product and then buy it through Progressive Leasing. Most items in the store are eligible, with some stores citing a minimum product value of about $100 and a maximum of $3,000. The minimum value is ultimately determined by Progressive Leasing at the time of the consumer’s application, said one location.
Best Buy and Progressive Leasing have not yet responded to our inquiries.
UPDATE: Best Buy responded this afternoon stating it has been testing the program for two years in parts of Texas and will start rolling it out in 35 states in the coming weeks.
It added, “The majority of our assortment is eligible for the lease-to-own program, however certain products, product categories and brands are excluded.” Car audio is included in the program, it confirmed.
Three locations in Connecticut said they were due to launch the program around mid-March.
The program caters to consumers who don’t qualify for financing. This includes consumers who have not yet established a credit history.
On today’s call announcing Best Buy financial results, an analyst asked Best Buy executives why it is pursuing a lease-to-own program, suggesting this may attract a clientele that is financially stressed.
The company said it tested the program in some markets and that defaults were less than one percent. CEO Hubert Joly said that the program helps to expand the chain’s customer base and especially helps attract young consumers, as they are starting out.
Also today, Best Buy reported that over a million people subscribed this fiscal year to its Total Tech Support program that offers free product repair (and free installation on many car audio products) when consumers buy a $199/year contract.
Best Buy’s In-Home Advisor program resulted in 135,000 free in-home consultations.
Additionally, Best Buy reported that 22 percent of its domestic business was generated online for the recent quarter ended February 2.
See Best Buy results here.