ARDA News

APRO Congressional Grassroots Instructions

Aug 8, 2014

APRO Congressional Grassroots Instructions

If you have never met with or contacted an elected official then you may be intimidated by the process and politics of the U.S. Congress. But, in reality, the U.S. Congress is there to listen and help you. You will quickly find the political process to be easy and rewarding because you are there to talk about passing federal legislation that will secure your job, your business and your family. Most likely you will meet or communicate with Congressional staff which is very important as they will advise the Congress person whether to support rent-to-own or not. Here are the steps and tools to a successful meeting and grassroots communication with your Congress members.

 

Grassroots Communication Objective:

To secure your U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senator’s co-sponsorship of the “Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act”. Co-sponsorship means the Congress member publicly supports your rent-to-own business.

If You're Meeting Personally With Your Congress Member Or Staff:

Please follow these steps to communicate with your Congress member's office. If you need any assistance, please contact APRO Public Affairs Director Richard May.

Step 1: Identify your (1) U.S. House of Representative member and (2) U.S. Senators and their Washington D.C. phone numbers.

Step 2: Phone the three offices to schedule a meeting using APRO’s “Congressional Meeting Request Instructions.”

Step 3: Submit in writing your meeting request using APRO’s “U.S. Senator Meeting Request” and “U.S. House of Representative Meeting Request.”

Step 4: When each congressional meeting is confirmed, send the meeting information through APRO’s on-line meeting confirmation form.

Step 5: Review APRO’s “Why Rent To Own Legislation.” For further background, you can review APRO’s Website and review the tabs under “Legislative Activity.”

Step 6: Review APRO’s “Five Basic Steps to a Successful Meeting.”

Step 7: Submit your meeting summary on-line and be prepared to follow up with the Congressional office if need be or requested.

If You're Communicating With Your Congress Member's Staff Through E-mail, Letter And/Or Phone Call:

Please follow these steps to communicate with your Congresmember's office. If you need any assistance, please contact APRO Public Affairs Director Richard May.

Step 1: Identify your (1) U.S. House of Representative member and (2) U.S. Senators and their Washington D.C. phone numbers.

Step 2: Phone each office and ask who the staff member is in charge of the House Financial Services Committee if you're contacting your House of Representative's office. Ask who the staff member is in charge of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee if you're contacting one of your U.S. Senators.

Step 3: Ask to be transferred to the staff member because you want to request your Congress member's support and co-sponsorship of the Consumer Rental Purhcase Agreement Act.

Step 4: When talking to the staff member introduce yourself and make sure you tell them you are a constituent. (VERY IMPORTANT) And that you are requesting that your member of Congress be a co-sponsor of the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act.

Step 5: Tell your personal story as a small business RTO owner and how the passage of the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act will secure your business' future, help grow your business and hire more employees while providing valuable consumer protections. Here is an example of talking points:

· I started my business in (insert year). Since then I have been part of the community serving thousands of satisfied customers who need and enjoy rent-to-own. Our customers either do not have credit or do not want to use credit and that is why they use rent-to-own. With rent-to-own, they can return the product at any time for any reason without penalty.

· The bill defines the rent-to-own transaction as a lease, not a credit sale, so the customer is not legally obligated to make payments if they cannot do so.

· The rent-to-own transaction is not recognized as a lease by the federal government, creating uncertainty for rent-to-own business owners to expand their business and provide jobs.

· The bill is also a consumer protection bill enhancing consumer protections in 33 states. The bill mandates full pricing disclosures. RTO business supports pricing disclosures to avoid confusion and conflict with their customers regarding the transaction.

· Refer to APRO's web pages under "Legislative Activity" at RTOHQ.org for all of the information regarding the bill and its legislative history.

Step 6: Ask again for the member's co-sponsorship and the proper time to follow up with an e-mail or phone call regarding co-sponsorship request.

Step 7: Submit your meeting summary on-line.

Step 8: Continue to follow up every two weeks until they give you an answer.

 

Step 9: When you have their answer, e-mail APRO Public Affairs Director Richard May regarding their position.