Tips on protecting yourself when using layaways - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tips on protecting yourself when using layaways

Linda Lynn says she has relied heavily on layaway services in the past. Linda Lynn says she has relied heavily on layaway services in the past.
(KFVS) -

The holidays are coming up and some of us are trying to figure out how to fulfill all of those Christmas wishes.

One method commonly used is layaway, but before you sign that dotted line, we have some tips to protect yourself.

"I mean you're getting something new in the mail every single day," Joey Keys with the Better Business Bureau says. "And every other ad on TV is some new sale going on for the store, so it's good time to get some good deals," 

"We're just shopping for the kids mainly," Alanna Hinson said. "Got a couple of microphones, a boombox, blocks for the baby."

However, Linda Lynn points out, paying for those gifts isn't always easy.

"I used a lot of Walmart layaways and different department stores," Lynn said. "I actually did because I could spread the payments out."

"Layaway is a great option for consumers that don't have access to easy credit that they can use to make payments on large items that they don't have the money for upfront."

But like any contract, Keys said you should know what you're signing up for before you agree to it.

When buying items on layaway, the BBB recommends you get everything in writing.

Consumers should also ask the following questions:

  • How much time do I have to pay off the item?
  • When are the payments due?
  • How much do I have to put down?
  • Are there any storage or service plan fees?
  • What happens if I miss a payment? Are there penalties? Does the item return to inventory?
  • Can I get a refund or store credit if I no longer want the item after making a few payments?
  • What happens if the item goes on sale after I've put it on layaway?

Lynn said ultimately, the holiday season should be about the good times, not how much you owe.

"So you can actually be happy and enjoy and not worry and fret after the holidays," Lynn said.

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