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2nd December 2007

Despite the global credit crunch, the festive season is set to lure consumers to splash out again this Christmas. So the Credit Services Association (CSA) the official body representing the UK debt collection industry has re-launched its seven point plan to help consumers avoid the pitfalls of debt over the festive period.

The top tips from the CSA are:

1. Set a clear budget and stick to it

2. Make a list of presents and dont be tempted to buy more

3. Start buying early in order to spread the cost

4. Whether you are on the high street or online - shop around to make
sure you get the best deal

5. Dont be tempted by the numerous Buy Now Pay Later offers

6. Offers that appear to be too good to be true invariably are

7. Make your decisions and stick to them - youll appreciate the New Year
more if you do.

Kurt Obermaier, Executive Director of the CSA explains: Figures published by business analysts predict that consumers will individually spend about 385 on gifts this Christmas. The credit squeeze and the record level of UK consumer debt will not deter the consumer spending on extravagant gifts like designer labels, games consoles and MP3 music players. However, with higher interest rates than this time last year, shoppers will be hit harder when January comes.

Weve seen the value of debt passed onto professional debt collection agencies grow from 8.6 billion in 2003 to 22.7 billion by the end of this year, and we forecast this to grow to 24.1 billion by the end of next year. These figures serve to underline the worrying problem of indebtedness in Britain

Like everybody else we all want to have a wonderful Christmas. No one wants to be a killjoy, and we do understand that the temptation and pressure to spoil our loved ones is particularly strong at this time of year. However time after time, people find themselves seduced into unmanageable debt positions, which may be exacerbated by this years interest rate rises.

With Bank of England figures for consumer debt standing at a staggering 1,379 billion three times what it was a decade ago we have re-launched our successful seven-point plan. By following these guidelines and taking into account this simple advice and acting sensibly, consumers can avoid unmanageable debt and the associated stress this festive season.

Visit the CSA Website:

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