Entries in Layaway (2)


Walmart’s Layaway Program Offers Christmas in September

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Following success last year, Walmart is set to begin its layaway program a month early.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant will run its Christmas layaway program from Sept. 16 through Dec. 14 in an effort to give parents more time to shop and pay for items this year.

“Last year, millions of Americans relied on layaway at Walmart to provide a great Christmas for their families,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Walmart U.S., in a written statement.  “Because of their feedback, we’re offering the service again this year and making it better than ever.”

For fans who “like” the company’s Facebook page, Walmart will allow users to begin layaway on Sept. 14 -- two days early.

This year the company will allow customers to lay away small home appliances and sporting goods in addition to toys and electronics.  (Shoppers can only lay away items valued at $15 or more.)

The layaway program requires a down payment of $10 or 10 percent -- whichever is greater -- and a $15 open fee.  The open fee is more than three times the rate in 2011.

According to a spokeswoman for Walmart, the company last year charged a $5 open fee and $10 cancellation fee.

“If you see it through, like the majority of our customers do, the money will be returned,” a spokeswoman for Walmart told ABC News.

“When it came to the fees, what mattered most to our customers was getting them back,” the spokeswoman added.

This year the retailer will refund the “open fee” in the form of a Walmart gift card after customers make the final layaway payment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Looking To Save on Holiday Shopping with Layaway? Think Again

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the holiday shopping season approaches, many retail stores are reviving layaway plans they say make it easier for people to afford gifts in this tight economy.

With the payment option, shoppers are allowed to pay for items in installments and can only take merchandise home once they've paid for it in full.

But critics, including a U.S. senator, say many of these plans are not as shopper friendly as you might think, and the fees involved could mount up.

"These layaway programs are nothing more than hideaways for sky-high interest rates that consumers would never tolerate with a credit card," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Sunday.  "Retailers know this is going to be a difficult Christmas shopping season for families who are having a tough time making ends meet.  The holiday season is supposed to be about giving and not taking, but these layaway programs are taking advantage of people and charging them outrageous interest rates, under the guise of making it easier and more affordable to shop."

Economists point out that with money down and monthly payments, some layaway plans end up costing far more than if shoppers used a credit card, even with a 15 or 20 percent interest rate.

In light of this, Schumer has called for retailers to prominently display their interest rate equivalents on layaway plans so consumers can make a better-educated decision.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio