The Ins and Outs of Best Buy’s Layaway Program

Layaway programs allow customers to purchase items by putting a down payment on the merchandise and paying installments over time until the balance is paid in full. Best Buy offers a layaway program during the holiday season to help customers budget for holiday gifts and expenses. This article will explore everything you need about Best Buy’s layaway plan.

How Best Buy’s Layaway Program Works

Best Buy’s layaway program allows customers to make a down payment on eligible items and pay the balance off over time in installments. Here are the key details of how Best Buy’s layaway plan works:

  • Layaway Availability: Best Buy’s layaway program is only available during the holiday shopping season, typically launching in October and ending in mid-December.
  • Eligible Products: Most products sold at Best Buy stores are eligible for layaway except for mobile phones, game consoles, and gift cards. High-demand items may also be excluded.
  • Minimum Purchase: A minimum purchase of $50 is required to use the layaway program.
  • Down Payment: Customers must make a 10% down payment or $50, whichever is greater, when the layaway contract is initiated. This serves as the initial deposit.
  • Payment Schedule: The remaining balance must be paid in equal installments over 8 weeks. Payments are due every 2 weeks.
  • Periodic Payments: Customers can pay by cash, debit card, credit card, or Best Buy gift cards for the down payment and installment payments.
  • Layaway Fees: Best Buy charges a $5 service fee for the layaway program. There are no interest charges or additional fees.
  • Cancellation Policy: If a layaway contract is cancelled within the first 14 days, customers receive a full refund including the $5 service fee. After 14 days, the $5 fee is non-refundable if cancelled.
  • Restocking Fee: There is no restocking fee if a layaway item is returned provided it is in new condition with original packaging.

The Benefits of Using Layaway at Best Buy

Layaway programs like the one offered by Best Buy have several benefits for shoppers:

  • Budgeting for Holiday Expenses: The layaway plan allows customers to budget for holiday gifts by spreading costs over 8 weeks. The incremental payments make expensive items more affordable.
  • Avoiding Debt: By using layaway instead of credit cards, customers can avoid finance charges and interest fees that often come with holiday spending. Layaway encourages responsible spending within your means.
  • Locking in Sale Prices: Layaway allows customers to take advantage of holiday sales and Black Friday deals early by locking in the sale price before items sell out.
  • Guaranteed Availability: Putting an item on layaway reserves it for you and guarantees availability. Popular items often go out of stock closer to the holidays.
  • No Credit Checks: Best Buy’s layaway program does not require credit checks or credit card applications, unlike financing options. It is open to all customers.
  • Refunds Available: If plans change or items are unavailable, layaway deposits can be refunded (minus the $5 service fee). Refunds are not available on credit purchases.
  • Teaching Financial Responsibility: Layaway can help teach children and teens financial responsibility and budgeting when shopping for holiday gifts.

Layaway Tips and Strategies

When using Best Buy’s layaway program, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make your down payment as early as possible to lock in sale prices and availability of items. Popular products sell out quickly.
  • Prioritize items that may be hard to find later in the season like the hottest toys and gaming consoles. Layaway ensures you’ll get them.
  • Read the layaway contract and policies carefully to understand payment dates, fees, cancellation policies, and other rules.
  • Make payments on time to avoid contract cancellation and losing your down payment. Mark payment due dates on your calendar.
  • Save layaway receipts as proof of payment in case issues arise. Keep receipts for cancelled contracts as well for refund documentation.
  • Pick up layaway items promptly when the balance is paid off. Most stores hold merchandise for only a few days after final payment.
  • Compare layaway prices to other retailers. Best Buy will price match identical items that are in stock at competitors.
  • Calculate the total layaway costs including down payment, installment payments, and fees to ensure it fits your holiday budget.
  • Consider layaway for high-dollar electronics like TVs, laptops, and appliances that may strain your holiday finances if purchased outright.

Avoiding Layaway Pitfalls

While layaway programs offer many benefits, customers should be aware of some potential downsides and pitfalls to avoid:

  • The $5 layaway service fee and any cancellation fees mean you are spending extra to use the program.
  • Layaway items are not available for immediate use. You must wait until the balance is fully paid off.
  • Layaway takes more planning and organization than simply charging purchases. Keep track of payment due dates.
  • You are locked into buying the items on layaway. If plans or budgets change, cancellation results in forfeiting the service fee.
  • Availability of merchandise is not guaranteed. Your options are limited if an item is lost, damaged, or discontinued.
  • Coming up with multiple installment payments can still be challenging for some families struggling financially.
  • Forgetting payment due dates or failing to pay on time can result in contract cancellation and loss of your down payment.
  • Layaway merchandise must be picked up promptly when paid in full or additional storage fees may be charged.
  • Layaway limits you to in-store shopping only. You cannot use layaway for online purchases.

Alternative Payment Options

Beyond layaway, Best Buy offers a few other payment and financing options that holiday shoppers may want to consider:

  • Best Buy Credit Card – Credit cards issued by Best Buy can offer special financing promotions on holiday purchases. This includes options like no interest if paid in full within 6-12 months. Credit cards also earn rewards points.
  • Store Card – The My Best Buy store credit card has similar financing offers as the Best Buy card but does not provide rewards. It is easier to qualify for than the Best Buy credit card.
  • Bill Me Later – This financing plan allows you to take items home and then pay the bill later in fixed monthly installments. No down payment is required.
  • Lease-to-Own – Best Buy offers lease-to-own on select merchandise where you make monthly lease payments. After all payments, you own the product.

When choosing layaway vs other payment methods, consider interest rates, required credit scores, and flexibility if plans change. Layaway has the advantage of no required credit checks.

The Bottom Line on Best Buy Layaway

The bottom line is Best Buy’s layaway program provides an affordable payment plan to budget for holiday shopping while avoiding debt. It allows customers to lock in sale prices early and guarantee availability of hot holiday items. Just be aware of layaway fees, strict policies, payment deadlines, and other fine print. Layaway requires more planning and discipline than simply whipping out your credit card but the forced savings can help you stick to your holiday budget. Layaway can be a smart strategy for managing holiday expenses when used responsibly.