OFT launches campaign to urge consumers to think carefully before buying on credit.
The 'Keep Debt Under Control' campaign urges consumers to think carefully before borrowing money or buying on credit. It includes leaflets offering a wide range of consumer advice on debt issues, posters and a budget planner to help monitor monthly income and expenditure. These are all available from local trading standards offices, Citizens Advice Bureaux, the OFT website at www. oft. gov. uk or by calling 0870 60 60 321.
The campaign encourages consumers to:
Think carefully before signing a credit agreement;
A recent survey concluded that increased access to debt can have disastrous effects on individuals who over-extend themselves or who find themselves unable to afford their repayments, perhaps due to losing their job or falling ill, or simply through mismanagement of their finances.
Almost 23,000 homes were repossessed by mortgage lenders in 2000;
Shop around - don't just take the first offer you see Compare sources of credit and APRs before borrowing - generally speaking, the lower the APR, the better the deal.
A recent analysis of standard APR rates for credit card purchases showed rates varied from 8.0pc to 22.4pc, with some high street store card APR rates as high as 31.9pc.
In addition, more than 80pc of unsecured personal loan customers of the major high street banks already had a relationship with the bank upon taking out the loan, illustrating a reluctance to shop around;
Get good impartial advice if you get into debt problems.
Nearly a quarter of people who asked Citizens Advice Bureaux for help had struggled with serious debt problems for up to two years before seeking expert help.
Free help on debt issues can be obtained from the following organisations:
Local trading standards offices at www. tradingstandards. gov. uk or your local phone book;
Local Citizens Advice Bureaux;
Independent advice agencies through the Federation of Information and Advice Centres (FIAC) on 020 7489 1800;
The National Debtline, which has a 24-hour answering service on 0808 808 4000;
Consumer Credit Counselling Service on 0800 1381111;
Direct Debt Line on 01323 481111 1.
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Nov 24, 2001|
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