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Layaway catches stores may not tell you about

Posted at 12:24 PM, Oct 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-19 12:24:15-04

Layaway is back in a big way for the 2015 holiday season.

More and more stores are bringing back the way mom paid for your Cabbage Patch Kids, cassette deck, or first Atari system.
    
But there are some cautions before you tuck it away on layaway, and some downsides the store may not tell you about.

The Advantage of Layaway
    
For cash-strapped consumers, layaway can be a life saver.

You can buy gadgets, gear and gifts, with no interest charges, or huge December bill.  Just pay a little bit every week, or every other week.

Stores offering Layaway for 2015, according to the website RetailMeNot.com include:

  • Walmart
  • Sears
  • Kmart
  • Toys R Us
  • Best Buy
  • TJ  Maxx
  • Burlington coat factory

Downsides They May Not Tell You About

But there are some catches you need to know about before signing up. 

  • Many stores have a $5 to $10 fee to open an account
  • Some require a 20% down payment on bigger items.
  • If you miss a payment, the store can put your item back on the shelf and possibly charge a cancelation fee.
  • If the item later goes on sale, you may or may not get a price adjustment.

Doesn't That Stink?

Which leads up to the "doesn't that stink" file: putting something on layaway and finding it half the price on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

I you paid a much higher price, you'll say "doesn't that stink."

That's why  if you are planning a big electronics purchase, watch for Black Friday ads, which typically come out in early November.

Ask about getting a price adjustment, if the price drops later.

And find out what happens if you decide to pull the plug on your layaway purchase.

The last thing you want are Christmas week penalties or disappointment.  So whether or not you layaway, don't waste your money.
 

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