Holiday Shopping on a Budget: Tips About Layaway Plans

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With the holiday season fast approaching, some smart planning now can keep your household budget intact when you ring in the new year. One option to consider is layaway plans.

For a long time, these plans have provided an alternative to paying cash or using credit. The retailer holds merchandise in reserve until the consumer pays for it in full. In recent years, Internet layaway sites have provided online shoppers with a similar option.

According to a new consumer alert from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, it’s important to ask questions about the layaway plan and the refund policy when considering the layaway option. The alert, “Layaway: Another Way to Buy,” also tells consumers to:

  • check out the business offering the plan;
  • get the merchant’s layaway policy in writing; and
  • keep good records of payments.

To learn more, go to

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FYI layaway plans)

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