Shopping hack: Understand layaway agreements before you sign up

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Layaway services at stores like Walmart, Toys R Us, KMart and Sears are a good option if you plan on making a big purchase for Christmas this year.

The service lets you space out payments on a an item over time without using a credit card.

Some prefer the option because you aren't charged interest on payments.

However, in-store layaway programs can very from store to store.

Some may charge a fee to open a layaway account or terminate it.

Others allow shoppers to use coupons.

That is why the Better Business Bureau says you should ask a lot of questions before signing the dotted line.

Questions you should ask include:

  • 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?
  • Is there a fee if I decide I no longer want the item?
  • What happens if the item goes on sale after I’ve put it on layaway?
  • Does the retailer or third-party layaway service have a good BBB rating?

The BBB encourages everyone planning to use layaway services to make sure they read and understand the layaway agreement before signing up.

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