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With increasing numbers of South Africans either having bad credit records or not qualifying for credit, it’s no wonder that more stores are enticing their customers to buy on Lay-By

Lay-By allows you to choose an item - a pair of shoes, for example - and pay them off every month, with no interest added. The key difference between buying on credit and via lay-by is that with the latter, the goods remain the property of the store until the customer pays for them in full.

You can cancel a lay-by at any time, and you must be refunded all payments you’ve made up to that point, minus just 1% of the retail price as a cancellation penalty. So if the shoes cost R1000, the cancellation penalty is just R10.

Ask to see the store’s lay-by terms and conditions before you enter the deal and make sure everything is documented, and that you have a copy of what you put your signature to.

Stores may not make a lay-by refund conditional upon you spending that refund on another item in their store.

Many stores still have a “no refunds” lay-by policy, which is illegal - companies do not have the right to contract outside of the law.

If, when you’ve paid off the shoes, the store is unable to supply them, for whatever reason, you must either be offered a comparable or better pair or be refunded double what you paid as compensation.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 6 tips on getting the most out of lay-bys

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