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Mail order catalogues

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

About mail order catalogues

Mail order offers a way of buying goods by post, with payments being spread over a number of weekly instalments. You can either get your own catalogue or buy through an agent, often a friend, neighbour or relative. The agent usually earns commission on what they sell. If you have your own catalogue you can earn the commission yourself.

What does it cost

Mail order credit is usually interest free although the catalogue company may charge interest for more expensive items being paid for over a longer period. Goods bought in this way may be more expensive than those bought in high street shops.

Where interest is charged, it tends to be quite high so shop around to see whether you can get the same goods elsewhere more cheaply.

For more information about buying goods by mail order, see Buying by internet, mail order or phone.

Being an agent

You may want to consider becoming an agent and taking catalogue orders from other people. If you do this, make sure you set up a separate account for each of your customers. If you don't and any of your customers miss payments, you may have to pay back what the customer owes to the catalogue company.

If you are an agent and a catalogue company asks you to pay back money owed by your customers, you can get help from an adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.

Further help and information

On Adviceguide

For more information about different ways of borrowing money and getting credit, see Types of borrowing.

You may also find the following Adviceguide information helpful:

The Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service. Their website ( has lots of useful information about borrowing and managing your money.

Go to their website for more information about:

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