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Walmart aborts seasonal layaway

Photo courtesy of Derek Montgomery / for NBC News

Retail giant, Walmart has announced that they are saying goodbye to their annual layaway option for the this holiday season. Residents here in Acadiana aren't too happy with the changes, here's why.

Posted: Sep 30, 2021 4:01 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2021 10:41 AM

LAFAYETTE, La. - Christmas is exactly 86 days away but for consumers like you and me who want to catch the best deals possible it's never too early to start Christmas shopping. This year retail giant Walmart is making a big change to its layaway program.

Walmart is ending it's traditional and free annual holiday layaway program. Shoppers can "buy now and pay later" using an app called Affirm. It let's you pay overtime on things like electronics, video games, toys and apparel but it doesn't come cheap.

"I think it's ridiculous for as much money as everyone spends here," said Touchet.

Shoppers can now spread payments out for as short as 3 months or as long as 24 months but it comes with a 10% to 30% interest rate.

"I think the interest rate is outrageous," said Chauvin.

"It's a lose-lose situation either way it goes," Harris.

A 10% to 30% interest rate could be very pricey for people with poor credit and even pricier for those on a tight budget.

"I think they are taking advatage of the disadvantaged people. The people that it hurts the most, those who can't afford it and they are living paycheck to paycheck," said Chauvin.

Last holiday season Walmart cut out seasonal layaway for some stores with the exception of select jewerly. They say based on what they learned this new payment option is best for customers.

The customers I spoke with call it a scheme, saying that Walmart is acting like a credit card company.

"Your'e still spending more money versus paying it out the first time. Even though you do get a longer time to pay it off, for an item that might be $300 you could be paying close to $400 or $500," said Harris.

"In this pandemic why would you even want to tax or add stuff onto your people who are already financially strapped?" said Touchet.

Customers tell me this new payment program is coming at the worst time. Right when people depend on layaway for their Christmas shopping.

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