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Catalogue debts. Advice if you have arrears

Catalogues are a popular way to make purchases and then spread the cost over a number of payments. This can help make expensive purchases seem more affordable, but catalogues are often an expensive way to borrow, and have high interest rates.

Many catalogue companies let you spread the cost of payments over a period of time. You’ll usually pay interest, which means that making just the minimum payments can lead to a bigger debt.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you miss payments to a catalogue, or don’t make the minimum payments, the company will ask you to catch up with the arrears. If you can’t pay them the account will default and further action could be taken against you. Your account with the catalogue company will also be closed so you can’t buy any more goods.

The debt could be passed onto a debt collection agency and the creditor may take court action against you.

Catalogue debts should be treated as a non-priority debt. This means that you shouldn’t prioritise the payments over your household bills and living costs.

Unlike other types of agreements such as hire purchase, you won’t have the give the items back if you fall behind with payments.

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Minimum payments to catalogues

Making regular payments to catalogues each month helps you clear the balance, however you’ll usually only be asked to make a minimum payment each month.

Paying just the minimum payment to a catalogue might not cover the interest and repayments. This can cause the debt to build up and become hard to manage.

Cancelling catalogue purchases

If you’ve ordered goods from a catalogue but you’ve had second thoughts or realised you can’t afford them, you have a right to return them.

You can cancel the order any time up to 14 days after you’ve received the goods. You’ll have to return the goods, and you may have to cover the postage costs to do this, but this will be a lot cheaper than paying for goods you don’t need or want..

You also have a right to a refund or replacement if the goods were not as described or of satisfactory standard.

Dealing with catalogue debts

If you’re falling behind with payments to a catalogue or you’re worried about what creditors can do you should get expert debt advice. You can contact us for free, impartial advice on your options.

You can also use our online debt advice tool which can help you find the right solution to deal with you debts, available 24 hours a day.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2019