Big Retailers Push Layaway as Battle For Holiday Shopper Begins Early
T.J. Maxx -- The discount clothier and home furnishings retailer doesn't offer layaway in all of its stores, but the ones that do provide a 30-day layaway program with a down payment of 10% of the total cost (or $10), as well as a $5 service fee. Don't expect to place jewelry or furniture items on layaway at T.J. Maxx.
Best Buy -- Best Buy wants more cash down on its layaway items (25% of the purchase price) than most stores, but their prices are higher, on average, than the retailers listed above. There's a 5% layaway service fee, which can add $50 to the cost of a $1,000 television. The retailer offers an eight-week and a 12-week layaway payment period.
Layaway plans are fine for consumers looking to spread payments out over the course of a month or two. But they can jack up the overall price of an item once you factor in service fees. Plus, you'll be out any cancellation fee if you change your mind.
As always in any consumer shopping experience, know the retailer's policy, and be prepared to finish what you start, payment-wise.
These days, stores want your layaway business. That's fine as long as you make sure those same retailers don't give you the business.
--By Brian O'Connell