Layaway is back! - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ConsumerWatch

Layaway is back!

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - We saw a glimpse of it last holiday season, but now layaway is in full swing with many retailers.

Stores like K-Mart and Burlington Coat Factory have continued to offer the payment plan, but now several other stores are adding the option as well.

Last year, Sears began offering layaway in November, then added it for good in January.

Now, Sears and K-Mart customers can also use layaway online.

"Customers can sit in their homes at their leisure and even with their pajamas on and make layaways at Sears and pick it up here with no shipping costs," says Columbus store manager Robert Smith.

In fact, Smith says they've already seen a big rush with customers using layaway.

"With bills and everything, you can't just come out the pocket real quick when you want to buy stuff, but it's nice with layaway you can pick stuff out and get it out around the time that you may need it," says Sears shopper Tammie Barnes who says she's planning to use the payment option for the new Rock Band.

Just this week, Toys"R"Us (inlcuding Babies"R" Us) anounced its Big Gift Layaway.  It allows customers to purchase certain items on layaway, everything from bikes to baby items.             

"I can't afford to shell out all that money at Christmas time so it's nice to make those weekly or bi-weekly payments, I do it at K-Mart and things like that so, it's nice to have that option," says Babies"R"Us shopper Tanya Copeland.  We met Copeland at the back of the Columbus store asking about the new layaway plan, she says she was notified via email.

The internet is also a hot spot for layaway plans.  ELayaway has partnered with more than 700 online merchants to offer the layaway option.  Home Depot, Hyatt Hotels and Apple are a few of those.

Lay-Away.com offers a similar service with a focus on appliances and electronics.  Consumers can even pay for a vacation on layaway with LayAway-Travel.com.

For folks who do plan to use layaway, be prepared to deposit a certain percentage of the total cost when you first start the plan.  Plus some stores have an additional service charge.

Experts say to make the most out of your layaway, set a realistic budget, shop early and bundle your items.  That way if you have to pay a flat fee, you're only shelling out the cash once.  Some stores even offer the option of automatic billing. That way you don't have to worry about missing a payment and having that merchandise sent back to the shelf.        

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