Ins and outs of layby deals

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Christ­mas is on the hori­zon and so too may be the time for mak­ing your last few pay­ments on your Christ­mas ham­pers or layby gifts.

But what if you want to can­cel a layby?

Layby is a pop­u­lar way to buy goods when you can’t af­ford to pay for them im­me­di­ately.

The store holds your goods while you pay for them in in­stal­ments dur­ing an agreed pe­riod.

You can take the goods home when you make the last pay­ment. A seller may call the sale by another name, such as part­pay­ment, but it’s still a layby sale.

Layby sales are cov­ered by the Layby Sales Act 1971.

Many of the Christ­mas ham­per of­fers – in which you pay in­stal­ments through­out the year and the ham­per is de­liv­ered near to Christ­mas af­ter fi­nal pay­ment – are cov­ered un­der the same rules as layby sales.

You can can­cel a layby at any stage while pay­ing it off, and don’t have to give a rea­son.

Let the seller know by call­ing at the shop or by writ­ing.

If you can­cel a layby, you are en­ti­tled to a re­fund of the money you have al­ready paid.

How­ever, the seller may have the right to keep some of your money to cover sell­ing costs and/ or loss of value.

The sell­ing cost is the cost to the seller of hav­ing the goods on layby for you. The amount charged must in­clude only the ac­tual costs of your layby.

Some stores charge a set amount if a layby is can­celled.

They may call this an ad­min­is­tra­tion fee or sell­ing costs.

The store should tell you about this charge when you agree the terms of the layby.

Loss of value is any loss in re­tail value, for ex­am­ple be­cause the goods are no longer in sea­son or a newer model is avail­able.

In most cases, the seller can’t claim loss of value if you can­cel within one month of be­gin­ning a layby.

You have the right to re­ceive your re­fund in cash. You do not have to ac­cept a credit note or buy other goods in­stead, even if the shop’s signs or layby dock­ets say no cash re­funds on can­celled lay­bys.

If the sell­ing costs and loss in value are more than the amount of the de­posit, the seller can keep the de­posit, but can­not ask you for any more money.

If you ask, the seller must give you a free, writ­ten state­ment within seven days of can­celling. This state­ment should tell you any loss in value, the sell­ing costs and the amount of your re­fund.

If you and the seller can’t agree about your re­fund ( or about other as­pects of your layby), you can go to the Dis­putes Tri­bunal (jus­tice.govt.nz/ tri­bunals/dis­putes-tri­bunal).

The tri­bunal is an in­for­mal and rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive way to sort out com­plaints made un­der the Layby Sales Act.

You don’t need a lawyer to take your claim to the Tri­bunal.

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