Christmas displays are already up in most major retail locations; which means holiday shopping is in full swing. Many stores have already rolled out their holiday layaway plans. Some are even offering additional incentives, such as cutting fees and increasing the number of items eligible for layaway.
The Better Business Bureau wants to remind consumers to fully understand the policies associated with a store’s layaway contract to avoid surprise charges or fees. Layaway services are an alternative to using a credit card for the full purchase. When purchasing items on layaway, the buyer will make a deposit, usually a percentage of the purchase price, and pay any service or plan fees for the store to hold the item. The customer is then given a time frame where they can make payments and eventually pay off the balance. Once paid, the customer can take the items home.
Not to anyone’s surprise, layaway services have evolved on the internet. Some national retailers allow customers to pay for products with monthly installments directly debited from their checking accounts. Online layaway also saves you the hassle of dealing with long lines at retail stores, and you can get your product delivered right to your door.
For consumers considering a layaway plan, BBB advises:
Remember that companies are holding merchandise for you that could be sold to other consumers, so it is important that you understand the terms prior to obligating yourself. Asking lots of questions up front could help you not feel like a Grinch this Christmas.
For more consumer tips you can trust, visit BBB.org.
Kelvin Collins is President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, serving 83 counties in East Alabama, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Central Georgia, East Georgia and Western South Carolina. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: BBB.org or E-mail: email@example.com