Hundreds of people phone debt advice lines for help with catalogue debts every day - more than those worried about mortgage or rent arrears.
One helpline took more than 25,000 calls from catalogue customers last year and more than 7,000 calls in the first three months of 2012.
Many catalogue shoppers forget two vital points that catapult them in to debt problem s -
• Signing up to buy from a catalogue involves signing a credit agreement, which lets catalogue firms enforce debts in a court
• Catalogues withdraw 0% or low interest debt deals if a payment is missed or late and apply much higher rates that can quickly build up more debt
Catalogue firms have strict debt collection rules.
Missed or late payments are chased up with phone calls and letters. If the shopper fails to respond or make a payment, the debt goes to a collection department or agency very quickly.
Catalogue companies also have a reputation for pursuing debts as county court judgments (CCJ).
Debt recovery action will affect credit ratings - missed payments stay on a credit file for at least two years and CCJs for six years.
The first step to dealing with a catalogue debt is establishing exactly how much is owed - this information is available from customer services or an up-to-date statement.
Next, if the catalogue has not suspended the account, stop spending so the debt is not getting worse.
The reason why the payment was not made is important - was the problem just an oversight, if so, make the payment.
If the problem is more long-term, for instance, because of illness or losing a job, speak to the catalogue company and discuss freezing interest on the account and making a smaller monthly payment.
Do not ignore the phone calls or letters and do not tackle the problem alone if you are worried about talking to the catalogue company - debt advisers are available to help.
The best way to deal with catalogue debts is to take control of the problem and to communicate with the company.
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Notes to editors:
- Money Debt and Credit is one of the UK's fastest growing financial solution companies.
- The company was founded in 2006 on the belief that every client has the right to appropriate financial advice. Since then we've gone from strength to strength and have helped thousands of people with a variety of financial solutions.
- We offer a range of services including Financial Management Plans, IVA s, Loans, Mortgages, Full & Final Settlements, Bankruptcy, Investments and Pensions.
- Specialties: IVA s, Financial Management Plans, Loans, Mortgages, Trust Deeds, Full and Final Settlements, Bankruptcy
For more information or debt advice contact:
Money Debt and Credit
45 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1SZ
Tel. 0800 16 999 46
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