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Consumers warned of holiday season debt trap.



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Media Release by…

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Affairs & Banking Services

23rd December 2002

CONSUMERS WARNED OF HOLIDAY SEASON DEBT TRAP

The holiday season may be a boom time for retailers, but it can often spell financial woe for consumers in the New Year.

Once Christmas is over and the sales come to an end, many Australian families will be placed under greater financial pressure by the arrival of the credit card bill.

The Howard Government needs to recognise that Australian families are under financial pressure, and if last holiday season’s credit card figures are anything to go by, the new year does not hold much respite.

Last December Australian consumers spent a massive $8.19 billion on their credit cards - that is over $1 billion more than the monthly average for that year.

Some tips for consumers for keeping their credit bill at a manageable level during this period:

• Beware of special offers for cheaper interest rates for periods of 6 to 12 months. While they may offer reduced rates in the short term, check what the interest rate reverts back to at the end of the specified period.

• Remember that if you are going to pay high interest rates on an item it is not necessarily a bargain.

Labor continues to call for reforms to the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, which would encourage responsible credit provision for Australian consumers.

For further information please contact: Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476