Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit this week against Layaway Express and 123 Layaway for failing to deliver products consumers purchased on layaway and for failing to provide refunds to consumers.
“Consumers have to be able to trust that they will get a product when they pay for something with their hard-earned money,” said Attorney General DeWine. “When companies or individuals don’t deliver on that promise, we will go after them.”
Stacy A. Perry, of Goshen, doing business as Layaway Express and 123 Layaway, in Cincinnati, offered layaway services to consumers nationwide through the Internet. Consumers would send the business a web link to the products they wanted to purchase through layaway.
Consumers paid 10 percent of the purchase price upfront and a $25 layaway fee was added on to the price of the product. Once participation was established, consumers would make payments to the layaway company for their purchases. The company was supposed to arrange delivery of the product when payments were completed.
In several cases, consumers reported not receiving their purchases as arranged. Consumers also reported failing to receive refunds for goods paid for but not received. Written contracts regarding the layaway program also were not given to consumers, even though Ohio’s Retail Installment Sales Act requires written contracts for any layaway arrangement in which the goods cost more than $500.
At least 10 consumers have filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office and/or the Better Business Bureau regarding Layaway Express and/or 123 Layaway.
The lawsuit charges the business and its owner with violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and Retail Installment Sales Act. The lawsuit seeks restitution for all consumers found to have been harmed, injunctive relief, civil penalties, and court costs.
Attorney General DeWine provides the following tips for consumers:
- Research businesses with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau before entering into an agreement or making any payments to the business. Also check to see if the business is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.
- Read the fine print of a layaway agreement. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, and whether you would get your money back if you cancel or fail to make all the payments.
- If you enter into a layaway agreement, make sure you receive a written contract, especially for items that cost more than $500.
I urge you to follow my two guides to evaluate your choice of any company.
- The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
- How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off
You can look at the related articles section of this post to see what has been written about them in the past. The comments on any relevant post may be enlightening as well.