Edwin, I've never seen/heard the words lay buy/laybuy/layby/lay-by
used. In the U.S. we say ‘installment plan’ (as per Erik). The expression appears as a noun with the spelling lay-by
in the online dictionaries Wiktionary, Oxford Dictionaries
, and the Macmillan Dictionary
. It is said to be used in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In my quote search I didn't find one example of it being used outside of these countries.
CASSELL’S DICTIONARY OF SLANG
) [1920s and still in use]: A deposit on and the subsequent purchasing by installments of an article in a shop. [The shop ‘lays’ the article ‘by’, i.e. one side] [[I'm guessing that the use of ‘buy’ was a later incarnation.]]
A DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH
and verb (Australian colloquial
); since circa
1925 : To secure an item for sale by making a deposit and paying installments until the full price is paid, without interest charges, the goods being taken only when payment is complete.
In my search for some quotes, I found that the above meaning of the expression was swamped by another (#1 below). Here are other definitions:
): A paved area at the side of a highway designated for drivers to stop in, for emergency parking, or where vehicles can wait, with larger lay-bys possibly having facilities like food vendors or public telephones.
): A railroad siding; a second, short railroad track just to the side of a railroad track, connected with the main track by a switch and used for unloading, bypassing, etc.
): A widened section of a narrow river or canal, formed to one side so as to leave the channel free, for mooring of vessels, where vessels can lay over or allow others to pass.
The following quotes from archived sources are for the purchasing plan meaning of lay-by
<2001 “An instalment warrant is rather like purchasing an item on lay-by. When an investor purchases an instalment warrant, he or she usually pays a little more than 50% of the underlying share price, with the right to pay another instalment in the future.”—ABIX Australasian Business Intelligence, 21 October) [[Notice that ‘installment is spelled with one ‘l.’]]
<2005 “Make no mistake, this will be a Labour lay-by budget with hollow upfront promises and delivery on the never-never.”—Scoop Independent News (Wellington, New Zealand), 17 May>
<2008 “Layby offers and interest-free deals were rife, said Allan, but customers had to check the terms and conditions. With layby, it was important to get a written note of the agreement signed by the retailer.”—The Herald on Sunday (Auckland, New Zealand), 13 July>
<2011 “. . . but written little about the provisions relating to lay-by agreements. . . . Previously, the law allowed the consumer to cancel the agreement at any time, and the store had to repay all monies paid, minus 10 percent as a cancellation penalty. But in practice, many smaller independent stores refused to refund customers at all.”—The Star (South Africa) 21 December>
2013 “Take 50 per cent off your next Bali holiday when you stay at the Alam Bidadari Villas in Seminyak. . . Blackout periods apply. Lay-by plan available.”—The Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), 10 November> [[You can’t visit Bali in pieces, but I guess you can pay for it that way.]]
And here’s the ugly small print for Australia’s ToysRus Lay-Buy
Ken – November 11, 2013