Reminders on 'Lay-Away' Selling

Not familiar with Lay-away? Read Lay-away Basics

I. On Provisional Receipt (PR)

The seller can issue a Provisional Receipt for L-A items with the ff:

- Provisional Receipt with letterhead of your store/company
 Do not buy generic PR’s just anywhere, spend for the printing (it will be your protection from fake receipts).

- signed with printed name by authorized cashier

- carbon copied

- date of payment

- amount in figures and words

- description of the item (color, size, IMEI etc.)

- tampering (erasures) on the PR must be avoided, explain this to the buyer upon contract signing and the cashier (employee) on another instance. A tampered PR renders it to be INVALID or VOID.

- contact number

- a copy of valid ID

II. Contract Termination

A fee of about 20% of the item’s contract price in case the buyer change mind on continuing to pay for the item and reimburses all his payment. Or you can also opt to state that ‘it can be use to buy for another item in the shop’ – without any charges and that you are NOT reimbursing cash in the event of termination. It would be really up to you. Your choice must be CLEARLY STIPULATED in the Contract.

Why putting termination fee? Because there is a possibility that the item could have been sold to another costumer in cash but since it is reserved to him, the store let go of that chance.

Some store, sell the item after MAKING IT SURE from their supplier that a similar item can be delivered right away (if the item does not contain identifying serial numbers). There are cases that the customer gets the chance to pay for the item in full unexpectedly- your store’s name and reputation may be put AT RISK in case that happens and you lose stock of the item (or the chosen color) entered into contract by the consumer with you.

It is always the BEST to observe good manners everytime, referrals are big source of patrons, if you have ambitions to stay long in the business scene. A SHATTERED reputation can affect your business drastically especially that social media is widely-used nowadays. Money can be earned but your company’s reputation that you have built for years can be tainted in just a few minutes – just by unjust actions and random judgment. However another customer wants to pay for the item in cash, the store must FIRST consider the prior customer ‘in contract’.

III. Item Reservation:

- I suggest that the same item be kept/reserved, with all its identifying details such as IMEI for mobile phones etc. listed on the mini-contract.  

Payments shall be posted in a payment summary form in a folder where all the other contracts are fastened. Each contract separated by a blank bond paper.

- Items in a ‘Lay-away Plan’ must be kept in a LOCKED cabinet not to be mistaken as free stock. All (item, contract copy) inside a sealed plastic signed by the buyer- this also gives the buyer assurance and peace of mind.

The seller can opt to give a minimum deposit requirement for the buyer to reserve the item. However, this limits the chance of attracting more customers to deal with you.

IV. Taxing

Problem on taxing sales?

Items are NOT considered SOLD unless fully-paid and delivered (as we have tackled in my Accounting in College) that is why only PR (Provisional Receipt) can be issued.

OR (Official Receipt) can only be demanded once the item is paid in FULL.

V. Forfeiture of Payment:

If the prospective buyer fails to pay/appear  in THREE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS, the item shall be put back AVAILABLE for sale to other customers in the event that the buyer has paid half or more than half of the cost, he shall be reminded via mail and if still no action/appearance within a month from the last notice, the amount shall be forfeited.


I also advise you to seek LEGAL HELP on framing your Lay-Away Contract, above listed are just suggestions based on experience. Business Lawyers are more knowledgeable of amount ceilings for penalties and consumer and business rights as well - it also depends on your country.

I hope this has given you an idea and helped you somehow. Thanks for reading.

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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.