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Glossary
What is Catalogue Debt?

Mail order catalogues are a great way of purchasing items and being able to spread the payments over a period of time that spans from 20 to 40 weeks. If you act as an agent for the catalogue company selling goods and collecting money, you have to be careful to keep all of your accounts in order, preferably with a separate account for each of your customers. This not only allows you to keep a track of your transactions, it also helps you keep a track of payments that your customers may have missed. If you do not keep good records and track your customer’s payments, you could be held responsible for the payments your customers missed. By setting up separate accounts, the catalogue company should not hold you responsible.

Catalogue debts should normally be viewed as ordinary credit debts although certain circumstances require them to be handled a bit differently. If the catalogue debt is a mail order catalogue and it is an essential source of clothing, household goods, or other items, you should include the catalogue payments with the essential outgoing bills in your monthly budget. If the debt includes other customers’ debts, make sure you provide your creditor with a complete listing of their accounts including all of the names and addresses of the customers who are in arrears. Also, make sure you ask the creditor to deal with the individuals in arrears separately.

When you act as an agent for a catalogue company make sure you have a written agreement between you and the creditor as well as you and your customers. Not all catalogue companies give out credit agreements and under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, they should. If a credit agreement has not been signed by both parties, then it may not be enforceable in a county court.

If you are pursued by a creditor for catalogue debt, you need to do one of the following:
  • Offer the catalogue company a pro-rata payment based on what you can afford to pay them.

  • Challenge whether or not the debt is enforceable if there is no signed credit agreement.

  • Carry on with your normal payments and keep the catalogue especially if you need it for clothing and household good purchases.

If you believe you have signed a credit agreement and cannot find your copy, request one from the catalogue company and have it delivered via recorded delivery. Put it in a safe place once you receive it. If you provide the creditor with a request in writing and pay the appropriate fee required, they are required to send you a new copy of the agreement. Additionally you can request a statement of account, details regarding payments made and the present outstanding balance, details of what is due to be paid, and details of goods ordered.

If you do not receive the requested information within 12 working days, the creditors cannot take any further action against you until they produce the documents. You can stop making payments to the creditors if they do not supply you with the paperwork you asked for. When you do not receive the information, you can write to the catalogue company and remind them that they cannot take action against you until they provide you with the information you requested.
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