12 On Your Side: Old school payment plan making holiday comeback

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- 'Tis the season, or almost the season, to think about Santa's list. But before you start checking that list off, you may want to consider an old school way of buying gifts.

Remember layaway? It's making a comeback this year.

Stores are welcoming the old program back due to shoppers' reluctancy to buy on credit this year. This year, Walmart is re-introducing layaway after ending the program five years ago. Toys "R" Us is also expanding its layaway plan this season. In the past, you could only put big ticket items on Toys "R" Us' program. This year, the store will allow you to put smaller gifts on layaway, too.

Layaway can help budget-conscious shoppers avoid a debt hangover after the holidays, but before you head to a layaway counter, make sure you understand the program.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that you ask these questions before signing on the dotted line:
-How much time do you have to pay off the gifts?
-When are the payment due?
-How much do you need to put down?
-What happens if you miss a payment?
-Will they make a price adjustment if your gift goes on sale?
-Can you get a refund if you decide not to buy the item later?

Most importantly, as with any kind of agreement, keep all your paperwork! You never know when you might need it.


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