Walmart Rolls Back Fee on Layaways

Feedback from shoppers on its Facebook page prompted Walmart to lower its layaway fee.

Bentonville, AR—Apparently prodded into action by feedback on its Facebook page, Walmart rolled back Tuesday its fee for its popular holiday layaway account.

The fee to open up a layaway account will now be $5 instead of $15.

The news comes on the heels of a Toys R Us announcement that it was waiving the upfront fee for layaway orders created in store from Sept. 4. to Oct 31. After Oct 31, a $5 service fee would apply. No minimum purchase price would be required and customers have until Dec. 16 to pick up their orders.

“When our customers speak up, we listen,” said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, in a statement. “We believe this rollback strengthens our layaway offering. It’s even more attractive to our customers and makes Wal-Mart more competitive in the marketplace.”

Shoppers made their thoughts known on Facebook since Walmart announced last month it plans to bring back its popular layaway program for Christmas.

The new program, which starts Sept. 16 and runs through Dec. 14, will last a month longer than last year’s and will include more items than the toys and electronics featured last year.

Walmart reiterated that shoppers who make their final layaway payment will get a full refund of the fee in a form of a Walmart gift card.

As was the case last year, Walmart still requires that each item is priced at $15 or more, and the total layaway purchase must be at least $50.

A down payment of 10% or $10, whichever is greater, is required and will be applied to the purchase, the same terms as last year. If the order is cancelled or not paid in full, the fee is not refunded, but no additional cancellation fee will be charged, as was the case last year.

Once popular during the Great Depression, layaway had nearly become a thing of the past given easy credit terms consumers were able to get. But that dried up with the Great Recession and continued high unemployment, so Walmart and other retailer brought back the tradition to help its low-income consumers.

 

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