Curing the Christmas Debt Hangover

Christmas is a time for giving, or so the old adage goes, and people in the UK certainly like to give now, pay later when it comes to the festive period - according to APACS, the industry association representing card issuers, credit card spending will have exceeded £12 billion in December 2004. That's an average spend of more than £250 by every adult in the UK!

So what can be done to resolve Christmas debt problems and at the same time protect your credit file?

Mark Ward, head of consumer affairs at Leeds-based credit reference agency Callcredit, provides an action plan to ensure the Christmas Debt Hangover doesn't become a credit millstone around your neck.

DON'T panic

DO get in touch with your creditors as soon as possible - if you are unable to make your payments most will be sympathetic and allow you to make reduced payments on a temporary basis.

DON'T ignore letters and phone calls from your creditors if you miss any payments - get in touch with them and explain your circumstances. If you do not respond, this could result in a default or even a County Court Judgment against you, which would remain on your credit file and affect your ability to obtain credit for 6 years.

DO think carefully and seek advice before applying for more credit to repay your existing creditors - it will work in some situations as you may be able to reduce the amount you are repaying each month, but it is likely that it will take you longer to repay your debts and you are therefore likely to pay more interest.

DON'T be tempted to run up further debts on store and credit cards should you decided to consolidate your existing debts by borrowing more.

DO contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or ring the National Debtline or Consumer Credit Counselling Service for advice and support - they all offer a free debt advice service.

Useful Contacts

Consumer Credit Counselling Service: - Tel 0800 138 1111
National Debtline: - Tel 0808 808 4000
Callcredit: - Tel 0870 0601414 www.callcredit.plc.uk
Experian: - Tel 0870 2416212 www.experian.co.uk
Equifax: - Tel 0870 5143700 www.equifax.co.uk

For Further Information Contact: Steve Clark or Daniel Kennedy at:
Source Marketing Communications, 117 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JX
Tel: 0113 380 1644, Fax: 0113 380 1630, e-mail: steve@sourcemc.co.uk