Dear Consumer Ed: 

Should I be able to get my money back on a layaway if not paid in full?

Consumer Ed says: 

Most stores will offer a refund or store credit equal to the amount of money that you have paid so far (minus a reasonable service fee or re-stocking charge). That being said, there is no federal or Georgia law that guarantees you the right to receive a refund under a standard layaway policy. Therefore, what you actually get back will mainly depend upon the company’s layaway policies.  However, those policies should have been clearly disclosed at the time of purchase (for example, on the sales receipt or on signs prominently displayed in the store).

If you believe that the store did not adequately disclose the terms and conditions of its layaway refund policies, or that those policies were otherwise unfair or deceptive, you can file a complaint with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at www.consumer.georgia.gov or by calling 1-800-869-1123.  You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by visiting ftc.gov or calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

The best way to protect yourself in future transactions of this kind is to inquire into a company’s layaway policies prior to making a purchase, and to ask for those policies in writing.

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