Catalogue debt among people seeking the help of a finance charity has risen during the last six years, according to new figures.
StepChange Debt Charity is concerned that while the amounts owed on credit cards and personal loans are continuing to fall, the amounts owed on high-cost forms of credit such as catalogues and payday loans are rapidly increasing.
The average catalogue debt for a StepChange Debt Charity client has increased 43% since 2006 to £1,808 in 2012.
The problem is “particularly acute among women”, says the Leeds-based charity, both in terms of numbers helped and amounts owed.
In 2012 StepChange Debt Charity helped 38,617 women with catalogue debts, compared with just 14,715 men. The average catalogue debt for women stood at £1,869, whereas for men it was £1,698, a difference of £171.
Delroy Corinaldi, head of external affairs at StepChange Debt Charity, said: “As people are increasingly unable to access traditional forms of credit they appear to be turning to more expensive alternatives such as catalogues and payday loans, which are often more readily available via the internet.
“Many people don’t consider debts built up on catalogues to be as important as other forms of credit such as credit cards and loans. In fact, catalogues are a form of high-cost credit that often carry high default charges and can leave people with substantial amounts to repay.
“Catalogue debts are an increasingly significant component of many our clients’ debt mix and we urge anyone struggling these or any other debts to contact StepChange Debt Charity where they will get free and impartial advice”.