DEMSA calls on shoppers to be more aware of their spending in an attempt to prevent the post Christmas financial hangover
The Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) has called on consumers to be more aware of their spending habits when shopping in the run up to Christmas, as a latest study by Moneysupermarket.com (1) reveals that 45% of UK adults are worried about how they will fund their traditional seasonal shopping.
According to the research by the comparison website, only 34 per cent of people will have saved enough money for presents by the time Santa starts his delivery mission – leaving 66 per cent having to resort to credit to fund purchases or without funds at all.
Last year, the average shopper spent ¬£320 on presents alone, according to figures by Asda (2), and that figure doesn’t look like reducing this year.
Add to this unemployment figures and the dire state of the job market, along with the immediate outlook for the economy, and the risk of developing potential debt problems increases – hence why DEMSA have called for shoppers to be extra careful when shopping this Christmas.
The beginning of the year is the busiest time for debt companies, as many people have one final blast on their available lines of credit before credit card bills and bank statements from Christmas arrive.
Michael Land, Chairman of DEMSA, said: “At Christmas time, many people’s finances are placed under intense strain as they have to find money for presents, food and travelling to see relatives which they would otherwise not have to.
“We all feel a duty to treat our friends and family over the festive period, along with getting in the spirit of things with celebrations, but we also have to be aware of the longer-term effects of maxing out credit cards and overdrafts.
“If this happens then finding expert impartial advice is essential. The DEMSA website www.demsa.co.uk lists all accredited companies so consumers can quickly find an honest and impartial company.”
The danger for consumers is that they may seek advice from debt management companies that have confusing or misleading terms and conditions, as Charles Wallace, head of codes, Office of Fair Trading, explains:
“Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to controlling the amount they spend on credit. However people are still getting their fingers burnt when it comes to managing debts. This is why Office of Fair Trading has worked with DEMSA to safeguard consumers against ill-advised debt management solutions. When looking to choose a debt management plan, consumers can feel confident that they can rely on the advice of DEMSA members regarding the service being offered: wherever consumers see the OFT Approved Scheme logo, they can be confident about the advice and service they will receive.”