The survey may reignite the government’s interest in investigating the “buy now, pay later” system of shopping
A report from the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) indicates that 10% of shoppers who use “buy now, pay later” schemes are being pursued by debt collectors.
The “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) method of shopping, a reinterpretation of the old “hire purchase” system, can be “a slippery slope into debt” the CAB said, after publishing the results of a survey of 2,000 adult shoppers.
The CAB said 12% of customers aged between 18 and 34 who use BNPL had been referred to debt collectors.
The hire purchase option is often offered on the checkout page of online shops and the CAB is concerned that none of the leading retailers’ webshops warns shoppers that debt collectors could be called in if the purchasers miss payments.
According to the CAB’s survey, 96% of those who had been referred to debt collectors reported negative consequences, such as sleepless nights or deteriorating mental health, from the consensus.
The government said back in February that it would look into interest-free buy now, pay later schemes, since when there have been no new developments.
Citizens Advice is urging anyone who has been contacted by debt collectors to get free, independent debt advice.