Struggling with catalogue debt?

Whether you're unable to resist the temptation of new clothes and homewares or found yourself in debt to buy gifts at Christmas, it can be scary to receive bills from catalogues which you just can't afford to repay.

Catalogue debt is a much bigger problem than many are prepared to admit. It's so easy to buy things when you're not making payments up-front. Then, when you get the bill, you realise just how much you've spent.

In fact, catalogue shopping debts have previously been labelled a “bigger problem than payday loans” with National Debtline dealing with more than 25,000 related calls over the course of one year.

With catalogue debts, you might not be able to make the full payment by the deadline or may struggle to keep up with your weekly or monthly repayments. Still, help is here – and our experts are ready to assist.

How does catalogue debt become an issue?

Usually, it's quite easy to see how much catalogue debt you're getting into. You'll be asked to pay in full within a few months (buy now, pay later), or might be provided with clear monthly repayment rates. However, buying on credit can really boost the price of a product.

As an example, a top children's toy from a high street toy shop may cost £80, but could be priced in a leading catalogue for £105 at the same time. Whilst spreading the cost of shopping can help, it often means that every item will be considerably more. It's also likely you may have to pay interest for a buy now, pay later plan, costing you even more.

One option is to choose to pay off the catalogue debt quicker in order to save money on interest. While this is the optimal solution, many people can only make the minimum monthly payments. Eventually, you could end up in persistent debt, where your minimum payments are lower than the amount of interest that you're being charged each month. When that happens, unless you increase your payments, you'll be unable to pay off the amount you owe.

Falling behind can also mean that additional charges are added. Companies might charge a £12 late payment fee, £15 per failed direct debit and £12 per debt collection letter or phone call. With a higher product price, credit interest rates, and a whole host of charges for late payments, it's very easy to see how catalogue debt can get out of control.

How we can help

Catalogue debt is a non-priority debt. This means that you should focus first on essentials such as rent and mortgage payments before looking to tackle this expense. However, you can’t ignore catalogue debt forever.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in having debt, and it is not something that you need to deal with in isolation. Our experts have a range of solutions which could be beneficial – from debt management plans to IVAs – and we’d be happy to find the best solution for your needs.