Tips before putting big holiday gifts on layaway - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tips before putting big holiday gifts on layaway

(KFVS) -

With the holiday shopping season nearly here, the Better Business Bureau is urging shoppers to know what they are getting into before using layaway programs at stores.

Walmart, Toys R Us, Kmart, and Sears are among the stores offering the program to help shoppers afford big purchases.

It allows people to space out payments on an item over time without using a credit card. 

The BBB advises consumers to read and understand a store's layaway contract before signing it. Otherwise, the BBB says a shopper might be surprised by fees or other charges that could add to the cost of their purchase.

Layaway programs can vary from story to store. Some retailers charge a fee to open a layaway account or terminate it. Others allow buyers to use coupons, but only on items that haven't been marked down or put on clearance.

There are also third-party businesses that serve as a way for shoppers to use a layaway program for retailers that don't offer that option. The consumer makes payments to the third-party business. Once the item is paid off, the third-party business will buy the product from the store and ship it to the customer.

The BBB encourages shoppers to ask these questions before signing up for a layaway program:

  • How much time do I have to pay off the item?
  • When are my 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 or does the item return to inventory?
  • Can I get a refund or store credit if I no long want the item after making payments?
  • Is there a fee if I no longer want the item?
  • What happens if the the item goes on sale after I've put it on layaway?

Lastly, the BBB says make sure you get everything in writing.

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