1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. General Business
  4. Article 26: Miscellaneous

Section 396-T Unlawful practices relating to layaway plans

General Business (GBS)

(a) Definition of layaway plan. For purposes of this section, the term "layaway plan" shall mean a purchase over the amount of fifty dollars whereby the consumer agrees to pay in four or more installments for the purchase of specific merchandise, delivery of which is to be made upon the payment of the full purchase price at a definite future date or at a date to be selected by the consumer.

  (b) It is an unlawful practice for a merchant to accept payment from a consumer to be applied to the purchase of merchandise on a layaway plan without first disclosing to the consumer in writing the following information:

  (1) a description of the merchandise to be purchased on the layaway plan including, as appropriate, the type of item, the name of the manufacturer, brand name, color, size, style, or model number; and

  (2) the total cost of the item, including tax, installation, delivery or freight charges; and

  (3) the amount of any charge for the use of the layaway method of payment such as a service or carrying charge or cancellation fee. Failure to make this disclosure shall preclude the imposition of such charge or fee; and

  (4) the duration of the layaway plan; and

  (5) the required payment schedule, if any, and the consequences of missing payments; and

  (6) the merchant's refund policy with respect to payments made by consumers; and

  (7) the location, if other than the place of purchase, where the merchandise is being stored or if the merchandise selected by the consumer will not be removed from inventory upon receipt of the first layaway payment by the merchant, there must be prominently disclosed on the face of the writing given to the consumer, the time at which the merchandise will be isolated from inventory or ordered by the merchant, e.g., NOTICE: NO MERCHANDISE WILL BE REMOVED FROM INVENTORY UNTIL ______ PERCENT OF THE PURCHASE PRICE HAS BEEN PAID, or ATTENTION: YOUR SELECTION OF MERCHANDISE WILL NOT BE ORDERED UNTIL YOU HAVE MADE YOUR NEXT TO FINAL PAYMENT; and

  (8) all other disclosures required by state or federal law.

  (c) The merchant must tender the specified merchandise in good condition to the consumer on demand upon receipt of the final layaway payment unless otherwise provided in the layaway plan.

  (d) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an application may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people of the state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the defendant of not less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such violations; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court or justice that the defendant has, in fact, violated this section an injunction may be issued by such court or justice, enjoining and restraining any further violation, without requiring proof that any person has, in fact, been injured or damaged thereby. In any such proceeding, the court may make allowances to the attorney general as provided in paragraph six of subdivision (a) of section eighty-three hundred three of the civil practice law and rules, and direct restitution. In connection with any such proposed application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules.

  (e) This section shall not annul, alter, affect or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this section from complying with the laws, ordinances, rules or regulations of any locality, relating to the disclosure of layaway plans, except to the extent that these local laws, ordinances, rules or regulations are inconsistent with any provision of this section, but no such local law, ordinance, rule or regulation shall be considered inconsistent, if it affords greater protection to the consumer.

  (f) The provisions of this section are intended, and are hereby declared to supersede any contrary provision of this article.