10 questions to ask about layaway plans
Looking to layaway goods? Here are 10 questions to ask retailers that will help you find a good layaway plan -- and avoid those that should be thrown away.
1. Do you provide full or partial refunds if the layaway is not completed?
2. Do you provide store credit toward future purchases if the layaway is not completed?
3. What is the payment amount?
4. When is it due?
5. How often must the payment be made -- weekly, every other week or monthly?
6. Are any service or layaway charges added to the purchase price?
7. Are there additional charges, such as for shipping?
8. Will the layaway item be physically separated from other store merchandise, or marked "sold"?
9. If the item is not in stock and needs to be ordered, under what circumstance (such as once half the purchase price has been paid) will the order take place?
10. What are the product's details (color, size, stock number, model number, trade name or manufacturer, etc.)?
Remember, there are no federal laws that address layaway plans directly. Instead, consumers have to count on a hodgepodge of state laws and the general prohibition in the Federal Trade Commission Act against unfair and deceptive practices. If the layaway plan requires a consumer to agree in writing to make all payments until an item is paid in full, then the federal Truth in Lending Act also comes into play.
Stores may have options when it comes to outlining layaway terms: The FTC says that retailers may decide to post layaway terms on a store sign or on sales receipts, with certain businesses outlining layaways terms on both signs and sales receipts.
Updated: September 30, 2014
- Split payments: Using two cards for one transaction – Retail stores often allow you to use two different cards to pay for purchases. But it's a different story when online shopping ...
- Putting a big-ticket item on a card: 7 questions – Done right, a credit card can be the best tool for an expensive item. You can see whether it's right for you by answering these questions ...
- Card-linked offers: Shopping deals you're not aware of – Card-linked offers are automatic discounts applied when you use a certain credit card at a participating merchant ...