FRESNO, Calif. - Once thought to be outdated, layaway has made a strong revival these past few years, and this year will be no different. Many retailers are offering layaway plans as an option this holiday season, which will help out consumers when they are out shopping for their loved ones. Layaway is a great solution for those who can’t afford to purchase all of their gifts at once, don’t want to use their credit cards, and want to take full advantage of the small, zero interest payments. Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties offer up the following tips to keep in mind before putting your items on layaway this season. Always read the fine printMany consumers just sign contracts without reading the fine print, which can cost them in the long run. Ask the company for a written contract for the layaway plan, and carefully read it. Layaway policies can differ from one company to another, so don’t assume they are all the same.According to California State Law, the layaway agreement must include, in writing, the amount of deposit received, the length of time the goods will be held, a specific description of the goods, the total purchase price including a listing of handling or processing charges, any other terms and conditions of the layaway agreement, and a statement that the seller will refund any deposits or payments made if before the end of the states layaway period, the goods have for any reason become no longer available in the same condition as at the time of the sale. To see if there are relevant laws in your state, contact the office of the Attorney General for more information.Understand the layaway fees and policyEvery retailer has a different set of rules when starting a layaway program. Some retailers require a minimum amount to be spent before putting your items on layaway, a service fee to initiate layaway, and a cancellation fee if you miss a payment or no longer wish to purchase the products. According to K-mart, you must have a total purchase of $300 in-store to spread your payments over 12 weeks, and you must make a payment every two weeks. This includes a $10 down payment and a service fee. Walmart only allows in store layaway on certain categories, but there is no opening fee, and the down payment must be $10 or 10 percent down, whichever is greater. Big box retailers aren’t the only ones offering layaway. Many small local businesses are offering layaway plans for the holidays as well. While they may not advertise it like the big box retailers do, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Payment datesMake sure you know the exact date your payment is due. If a payment is late, the layaway item may be put back on the shelf and sold to another customer, and you may also lose your down payment. Some retailers are allowing a grace period to pay after your payment due date before your contract is cancelled and the items are returned to stock. Refund policyIf you decide you no longer wish to purchase the merchandise after you’ve made some or all of the payments, you may be able to get a refund. Some retailers will refund your full amount, others may charge a small cancellation fee, and some retailers will only refund your payments for store credit. Make sure you have, in writing, the full return policy before signing on that dotted line. Merchandise holdsFind out if the item being placed on layaway is set aside immediately, or when it is paid off. Some consumers may be informed that the product they were paying on has inadvertently been sold to another customer. Length of timeFind out how long the items can be placed on layaway for, and when you must pick the item up by. Some retailers require a final payment and pickup by a certain date, otherwise your account will be cancelled and the item will be returned to the shelves. Delivery datesIf the product you have on layaway is set to be delivered to you, make sure the delivery date is listed in the contract. The last thing you need is a delivery issue or delay because the product was not available, or the non-layaway items were shipped out as first priority. Check with BBBSearch the company beforehand on bbb.org to see if they are trustworthy. You can read what past customers are saying about them, what their rating is, and if they are an Accredited Business or not. After you’ve placed your items on layaway, let us know how the experience was by submitting a BBB customer review.