Dealing with your non-priority debts

Catalogue debts

Extra advice:

liability of agents

If you act as an agent for the catalogue company and sell goods, or collect money for the company, you need to be careful. You should create a separate account for each of your customers. If you do not do this, then the catalogue company may hold you responsible for any payments missed by your customers.

As long as you set up separate accounts, you (as an agent), should not be held personally liable for your customers’ missed payments.

Mail order catalogues offer a way of buying goods by post and spreading the payments over a period of, typically, 20 to 40 weeks. Orders for goods and the collection of payments are sometimes undertaken by a local part-time agent; often a friend, relative or neighbour.

You should treat catalogue debts as a non-priority debt in the same way as your other non-priority debts. Goods ordered from a catalogue belong to you and cannot be taken back if you do not pay. If you have a dispute with the company or an agent about how much you owe, contact us for advice.

If you have a catalogue that you took out before 6th April 2007, you may find that this debt is not enforceable if you did not sign a credit agreement. This is complicated and will depend on a number of factors. Contact us for advice.

Personal debts to friends and family

You may owe money to friends and family. You should usually treat these debts the same as ordinary non-priority debts and make offers of payment in the same way.

You may be able to agree to make no payments until your circumstances improve so you can pay off your other creditors faster. Sometimes, you may want to make higher payments on a personal debt because lending you the money has caused hardship to someone you know or your relationship may suffer if you don't. This can be difficult, as your other creditors may be unhappy if you are paying more on a personal debt than is strictly 'fair'. You need to explain the reasons to your other creditors and point out, for example, that if you pay off the personal debt quickly, you will be able to pay more to everyone else.

Business debts

See our fact sheet:

Business debts.

If you have been self-employed in the past, you may have debts to old suppliers and so on. Usually, you can treat this type of debt as a non-priority.