Buying on lay-by

A lay-by is an agreement between you and a business where:

  • you will pay for goods over a period of time
  • you agree on a fixed sale price and payment conditions
  • you do not take the goods until you finalise the payments.

Make sure to read the terms and conditions before signing anything or paying any money.

The lay-by could be anything from one week to many months. You and the business are free to decide. The business must then hold the goods for that period of time.

An agreement is classed as a lay-by if:

  • you pay in three or more instalments
  • the business calls the agreement a lay-by, even if you pay in only two instalments.

Agreements must be in writing and should contain:

  • what goods you are buying
  • how much they cost
  • how much deposit you paid
  • how long the lay-by will last (maximum)
  • what cancellation and refund policies apply.

Cancelling a lay-by

If you cancel a lay-by agreement, the business:

  • must refund your money
  • may charge you a termination fee only if it was in the agreement.

A termination fee can only cover the costs of the lay-by.

A business isn’t allowed to break a lay-by agreement unless:

  • you break one of their terms
  • they have closed down
  • the goods are no longer available for reasons they can’t control (they can’t choose to remove the goods from sale).

You are entitled to a full refund if:

  • the business closes down
  • the goods are no longer available for reasons they can’t control.