Issued By
  Durham Trading
  Standards Service




Consumer watchdogs in County Durham are warning peopl not to overdose on ‘retail therapy’ and avoid a New Year hangover of debt.

Durham County Council’s Consumer Services is joining forces with the Office of Fair Trading in a Keep Debt Under Control campaign during National Consumer Week next week. (November 12)

And they’re advising shoppers to spend with care to try to avoid falling into debt over Christmas.

“Many credit card companies and store charge cards often have attractive introductory offers aimed at getting people to sign up and latest figures show that consumers are borrowing and spending freely as credit becomes increasingly easier to obtain,” said Phillip Holman, the County Council’s Head of Consumer Services.

“While we want people to have an enjoyable Christmas, no one wants to start the New Year with a financial hangover.

“Obtaining credit is not a problem as long as you can repay the debt and cope with unexpected events such as redundancy.

“Our advice is to shop around and compare deals on loans before committing yourself.

“Generally speaking, the lower the APR, the better the deal.  Everyone should think carefully before signing a credit agreement and consider the true cost and length of the financial commitment they are taking on,” he said.

Supporting the campaign, Councillor Don Ross, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said:  “If consumers find themselves with debt problems, it’s essential they seek sound, impartial advice at an early stage and don’t bury their heads hoping the problem will go away.

“Problems created in the run up to Christmas can last well into the New Year,” he said.

During National Consumer Week, which runs from November 12, information on credit and debt will be available in libraries and Consumer Services offices throughout County Durham. 

Advice on credit agreements is available from Consumer Services and anyone with debt and money management problems can contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau and other voluntary organisations for help.


Note to News Editors:  For further information contact Peter Fleming, Assistant Head of Consumer Services on 0191 383 3584 or Craig Hudson, divisional manager, on 0191 383 3707.


Free help on debt matters is available from –

Local Citizens Advice Bureaux

Independent advice agencies through the Federation of Information and Advice Centres on 020 7489 1800

The National Debtline, which has a 24 hour answering service on 0808 808 4000

Consumer Credit Counselling Service on 0800 138 1111

Direct Debit Line on 01328 481111


National Consumer Week is run annually by the Trading Standards Institute.  For further information contact the TSI press office on 0870 8729030