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Consumers warned over catalogue debts

Consumers warned over catalogue debts

Category: Debt

Updated: 23/05/2012
First Published: 23/05/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Consumers are being warned to be wary over running up large debts with catalogue companies.

Debt advice charity the Money Advice Trust is reporting that its National Debtline took more than 25,000 calls for help from people with debts to catalogue companies last year, which is a record.

The first quarter of this year has seen the problem continue to increase, with over 7,000 calls received.

People often turn to catalogues to spread the payment of clothes, household goods and other items. But many don't realise that failure to miss a payment could invalidate offers such as 0% interest credit cards.

Catalogue companies can also take court action if debts are not paid.

The issue of payday loans has fallen under the spotlight in recent times, with the Office of Fair Trading currently conducting a review of the sector with a view to improving standards.

However, more calls have been made by worried consumers who have fallen into debt with catalogue companies than those reporting problems with payday loan companies.

The helpline has also received more calls on catalogue debts than on rent or mortgages.

"Catalogue debts go largely unmentioned in public these days, but advisers at National Debtline hear from nearly 100 people every day struggling to repay such debts," said Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust.

"Many people might be surprised to hear we get more calls on catalogue debts than on things like mortgages, rent and payday loans.

"When buying from a catalogue, many people don't realise they are signing a consumer credit agreement, which means the debt is enforceable in the courts."

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