Catalogue debt growing says helpline
Calls from people concerned about their debts with mail order catalogues accounted for more than 12 per cent of all calls received by National Debtline last year, compared with just 8 per cent in 2007.
More people were concerned about catalogue debt than about payday loans, mortgage or rent, according to the Money Advice Trust which runs the helpline.
National Debtline received a record 25,235 calls about catalogue debt in 2011 and it has already totted up a further 7,095 calls this year.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: “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.”
Customers buying goods from mail order companies are bound by a consumer credit agreement and can be taken to court if they fail to pay for their purchases.
National Debtline provides confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems and the service is free.
The highest number of calls to the charity concern council tax arrears; credit and store cards; and bank loans and overdrafts.
Meanwhile, separate research by MoneySupermarket.com has identified a growing problem with grandparents and parents falling into debt because they are providing financial support to adult children and grandchildren.
The research suggests that 1.7 million grandparents and parents go into the red because they are supporting family members with so-called ‘greyday loans’.
In an online survey of 2,016 UK adults, MoneySupermarket.com found that 24 per cent of grandparents are using savings, credit cards, overdrafts and payday loans to help support their adult grandchildren.
An even larger proportion of parents – 32 per cent – are offering financial support to adult offspring.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket.com said: “Taking out additional borrowing to support family members is an honourable thing to do but people need to consider how they will repay the debt and how this will impact their lifestyle, especially if they are in, or approaching retirement”.