Amid customer complaints, Walmart cuts layaway fee

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — After announcing it would move up its layaway program for the holiday season to mid-September, Walmart said it also would reduce the program fee from $15 to $5.

"This is a direct response to feedback we received since announcing this year’s holiday layaway program," said Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart's chief merchandising and marketing officer. "Customers who make their final payment will receive a refund of the $5 fee on a Walmart gift card. We believe this rollback strengthens our layaway offering. It’s even more attractive to our customers and makes Walmart more competitive in the marketplace."

Other terms of Walmart's program are comparable with last year, such as a requirement for a down payment of $10 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is greater, but the company no longer collects a cancellation fee of $10, as was the case last year.

At Walmart, the list of merchandise categories was expanded this year after the program was reinstituted last holiday season. Walmart has added small appliances and select sporting goods such as basketball goals, trampolines and large exercise equipment to electronics, toys and jewelry as categories eligible for layaway.

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