Why is Magic Johnson shilling for Rent-a-Center?

Last month, the Washington State Attorney General sued Rent-a-Center, a leading rent own store operator, accusing the company of a slew of illegal, anti-consumer practices.

The most puzzling part of the story, for me at least, was the fact that former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson is working for the company as a spokesman, and is featured prominently in the company's televised ad campaigns.

Consumer advocate Edmund Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director for U.S. PIRG, told me what he thought of Johnson's endorsement of the company in a phone interview: "There's a lot of people that I'm unhappy with what they do to make money, and Magic Johnson is one of them. There is nothing good about rent to own and promoting rent to own is promoting a predatory product and people will never get ahead with it. Rent to own promises the dream of ownership and then takes it back with a 100-week contract. It's very difficult to meet the terms of the contract and when you don't meet the terms, they may come and violate the debt collection laws. I thought Magic Johnson made enough money playing for the Lakers. He's got to be able to find better endorsement deals than this."