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Best holiday layaway plans

Some retailers have improved their layaway plans for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Here's how the plans compare.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 25, 2012 11:43AM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News logoA poor economy prompted major retailers to revitalize layaway plans. Sears brought layaway back in 2008, and Wal-Mart did in 2011.

 

Image: Gift © Brian Hagiwara, Brand X, CorbisThis year some stores have slashed fees, making layaway free -- assuming you pay on time and don't cancel your plan.

 

We're making holiday shopping simpler for you by explaining the rules and requirements for the layaway plans at major retailers, plus whether they're free or not. 

 

Layaway plans that are essentially free

 

Kmart

  • Eligible items: Most items. (If you shop online, look for the words "available for layaway" on product pages.)
  • Down payment: $15 or 10%, whichever is greater, for eight-week contracts; $30 or 10%, whichever is greater, for 12-week contracts.
  • Upfront fee: $0 through Nov. 17; $5 for eight-week contracts or $10 for 12-week contracts, both nonrefundable, after Nov. 17.
  • Cancellation fee: $10 for eight-week contracts, $20 for 12-week contracts.
  • Final payment due: You make a payment every two weeks over a period of eight or (for $300-plus purchases made in stores) 12 weeks. (Note: The fine print says, "You have a seven-day grace period after your payment due date before your contract is canceled and items are returned to stock." The cancellation fee will apply.)
  • Available: In stores and online.

Toys R Us and Babies R Us

  • Eligible items: All toys at Toys R Us and most items at Babies R Us.
  • Down payment: 20%.
  • Upfront fee: $0 through Oct. 31, $5 after Oct. 31.
  • Cancellation fee: $10.
  • Final payment due: Dec. 16.
  • Available: In stores only.

Wal-Mart

  • Eligible items: Toys, electronics, small appliances, jewelry and select sporting goods. (Note: Each item must be $15-plus and the total purchase must be more than $50.)
  • Down payment: $10 or 10%, whichever is greater.
  • Upfront fee: $5, refunded on a Wal-Mart gift card upon full payment.
  • Cancellation fee: $0.
  • Final payment due: Dec. 14.
  • Available: In stores only.
Layaway plans that will cost you

 

Best Buy

  • Eligible items: Most items. (Note: The total purchase must be $250-plus.)
  • Down payment: 25%.
  • Upfront fee: 5%, nonrefundable.
  • Cancellation fee: None mentioned.
  • Final payment due: You make a payment every two weeks over a period of eight or 12 weeks. (Note: The fine print says, "If a payment is missed, Best Buy reserves the right to return the product(s) to store inventory." So since they don't mention a cancellation fee, it's possible you won't get back all the money you've already paid toward the purchase.)
  • Available: In stores only.

Sears

  • Eligible items: Most items. (If you shop online, look for the words "available for layaway" on product pages.)
  • Down payment: $20 or 20%, whichever is greater, for eight-week contracts; $35 or 20%, whichever is greater, for 12-week contracts.
  • Upfront fee: $5 for eight-week contracts, nonrefundable; $10 for 12-week contracts, nonrefundable. (Note: It's rumored that Sears -- owned by the same parent company as Kmart -- may drop this fee through Nov. 17 as Kmart did, but the company has yet to make an official announcement.)
  • Cancellation fee: $15 for eight-week contracts, $25 for 12-week contracts.
  • Final payment due: You make a payment every two weeks over a period of eight or (for $400-plus purchases made in stores) 12 weeks. (Note: The fine print says, "Layaway merchandise will be returned to stock seven (7) days after a missed payment." The cancellation fee will apply.)
  • Available: In stores and online.

More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

1Comment
Sep 25, 2012 10:21PM
avatar

This article is wack, i can tell you why kmart is not a good idea for online holiday layaway, to make a long story short, tried it last year thought it would be convienient, selected all of the items i needed the website said they were available for layaway, i paid my downpayment of 15% only to be emailed later by kmart informing me that my layaway had been cancelled because the items weren't available, I Placed another order thought i would give it another try, the exact same thing happened. I ended up paying for my items upfront by placing them on my credit card, it was not convienient at all. I wouldn't trust it.

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