Wednesday, November 13, 2013

PlayStation 4 could cost $553 in Kmart rent-to-own program

Kmart shoppers file into the Bradenton store at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving in 2011. The store will open again at the same time this year to offer 41 hours straight of shopping. (File Photo by Paul Videla/Bradenton Herald)

Kmart is going to start offering a rent-to-own program for merchandise in time for the holiday shopping season, making the retailer function like a Rent-A-Center or Aaron's.

Kmart announced that it is partnering with Whynot Leasing, LLC, to start a rent-to-own program nationwide starting Nov. 22 to let customers take home merchandise now and pay as they go, including doorbuster specials on Black Friday.

But yes, there is a catch. And despite the no-credit requirement, you're essentially being screened as if you're being checked for credit.

Thanks to interest charges, this means that $400 PlayStation 4 I wrote about in today's Herald, could cost $553, which also includes a balloon payment at the end of the lease.

Here are the details of the program:

  • Merchandise has to cost $150
  • Eligible merchandise includes home appliances, mattresses, ready-to-assemble furniture, lawn and garden equipment, consumer electronics, seasonal toys, sporting goods and service plans.
  • Merchandise is brand-new and not refurbished
  • You must be 18 years old or older
  • Have to make $1,000 or more a month
  • Have a social security number or tax identification number when applying
  • First payment made at store, then electronic monthly or bi-weekly payments 
  • After five months, lease can be bought out
  • A balloon payment/lease premium is charged at the end of the lease

About that interest--it's based on the price plus the length of the lease. Here's an example from a Kmart spokeswoman of how the charges could break down for a $400 product:

  • $400 (or a combination of items totaling $400) looks like
  • 10 bi-weekly payments of $33 over 5 months = $330
  • Balance owed PLUS Lease premium at the end of 5 months = $220
  • Total cost to own = $553

The lesson here is if you're impatient, it will cost you. And if you want to avoid excessive interest charges, make higher payments or more frequent payments.

Layaway option

Layaway is still offered without service fees at both Kmart and its sister store Sears for a limited time, but the waived fee promotion ends before the Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. A non-refundable cancellation fee applies.

At Kmart, free holiday layaway is valid on new layaways through Nov. 23 and a 12-week layaway option is available for purchases $300 and more. Sears layaway has the same terms, except the 12-week layaway has to be for purchases $400 and more. After that, the fees will apply, and a deadline for  layaways with seasonal merchandise (like ornaments, trees) are typically during the first week of December.

Holiday Hours

Kmart is opening earlier than most stores on Thanksgiving by opening at 6 a.m., and will not close until 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Sears will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and close at 10 p.m. on Black Friday. The doorbuster deals will be available until 1 p.m. on Black Friday.

That's 41 hours straight of shopping at Kmart. Goodbye, Macy's Day Parade.

Manatee County Kmart and Sears locations

Kmart, 7350 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton
Kmart, 6126 U.S. 301, Ellenton
Sears, DeSoto Square Mall, 303 US 301 Blvd, Bradenton

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