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Catalogue debts. Advice if you have arrears

Catalogues are a way to buy things and spread the cost out over time. But high interest rates can make items more expensive in the long term.

Catalogues are like any other loan.

  • You must make a minimum monthly payment
  • Interest adds up over time
  • Your debt gets bigger if you only make the minimum monthly payments

Are you in control of your repayments?

Find out with our 60 second repayment checker.

What happens if I do not pay?

The company asks you to catch up with the arrears if:

  • You miss payments or
  • Do not make the minimum payments

The account will default and close if you do not pay.

Further action can be taken against you like:

Catalogue debts are a 'non-priority debt'. This means you should pay your household bills and living costs first.

You do not have to give the items back if you fall behind.

Struggling with catalogue debts?

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you.

Get help now

Minimum payments to catalogues

Making regular payments helps you clear the balance.


  • Paying just the minimum does not cover the interest and repayments
  • This can cause the debt to build up and become hard to manage
  • You risk your account being in 'persistent debt'

Catalogue accounts and persistent debt

Have you gotten a letter about 'persistent debt'?

  • This is when you only make minimum payments for a while
  • The worry is that you will be in debt for a long time
  • The people you owe may ask you to increase your monthly payment

After 18 months of persistent debt

  • You have paid more in interest and charges than you have towards your balance
  • The catalogue company contacts you
  • They ask you to take action to stop being in persistent debt by month 36

After 27 months

  • They contact you again
  • They ask you to take action again

After 36 months

  • The company should offer you a way to pay
  • This should take within three to four years
  • They may suggest:
  • An affordable payment plan to clear the debt quicker or
  • Paying off the debt with a loan or credit card
  • They may also consider:
  • Pausing interest and charges
  • Reducing your minimum payment
  • Suspending your account
  • These could impact your credit file

Cancelling catalogue purchases

You have the right to return things you order from a catalogue.

You can cancel the order any time up to 14 days after you receive the goods.

  • You have to return them
  • You may have to cover the postage costs
  • This is cheaper than paying for goods you do not need or want

You also have the right to a refund or replacement if:

  • The goods are not as described
  • The goods are not of satisfactory standard

Dealing with catalogue debts

Get debt advice if:

  • You are falling behind with payments to a catalogue or
  • You are worried about what the people you owe can do

Use our free, online debt advice tool to find the best solution for you.

Answer 5 quick questions to find out. It should only a minute to get a clear picture of whether you are on top of your credit card, store card and catalogue repayments or not.

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Did you pay only the minimum payment last month?


Do you regularly pay only the minimum payment?


Have you had any letters warning you that you are in 'persistent debt'?


Do you ever miss payments to your credit card, store card or catalogue accounts?


Do you worry about not being able to keep up with repayments or not being in control of your credit?

You are in control

Based on your answers it sounds like you are in control of your repayments.

You are reducing your balance. And you are also saving money by not paying interest.

This because you are not missing any payments and you are not just paying the minimum each month.

Stay in control! Make the most of your money with income-boosting, money-saving tips.

Read our budgeting guides

Things are okay

Based on your answers, it sounds as though you are mostly keeping on top of your repayments at the moment.

That is great. By paying more than the minimum payment each month, you can:

  • Reduce your credit card balance quicker
  • Save yourself money because you’ll pay less in interest

Find out more about what can happen if you’re only making minimum payments by clicking the button below.

Find out more about persistent debt

Things could be a bit better

Based on your answers it looks as though you are doing everything you can to keep on top of your repayments. But you might be able to make improvements.

If you depend on making the minimum payment each month, you are at risk of your account being in ‘persistent debt’. Your creditors will contact you and ask you to pay more each month.

Find out more about persistent debt

And if you have missed any payments, you might be struggling to keep on top of your finances. Find out how we can help you.

You need debt help

Based on your answers, it looks like you’re struggling. We can help you out. Please get in touch with us for free debt advice.

Use our online debt advice tool for tailored budgeting advice and a personal action plan.

Get debt help now

Or if you would like to talk to a debt advisor, please call us on 0800 138 1111.

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