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Layaway purchase plans are popular and convenient when you don’t want to pay the full purchase price up front. When using a layaway plan, it’s important to get the merchant’s policy in writing. You’ll want to understand the terms of the plan, the payment amounts and frequency, and whether there are any additional service fees or other charges you’ll have to pay for the convenience of the layaway. Find out if there are any fees for late payments or if your contract can be canceled for missing a payment. Finally, make sure you understand the refund policy. Some merchants might simply offer a store credit rather than a refund. While federal law doesn’t specifically govern layaway plans, unfair or deceptive sales practices are illegal and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. For more information, or to discuss a complaint, contact either your state attorney general, local consumer protection agency, your local Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission.