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.

See related: Layaway begins with an early rush, You made a layaway purchase? Tips for retrieving your merchandise

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.

Updated: 03-23-2019