I’m sure that I’m not the only one that gets fed up of being stuck in a telephone queue, but recently we’ve had one that really is taking it to the extreme. During December we ordered some items from 24 “Studio” Catalogue. This is a mail order company stlling mainly household items. Unlike some of better well known catalogues, Sudio does not give fixed payment terms, but effectively works as though you bought the items using a Store / Credit Card. Once a month you receive a statement giving the minimum payment details, and you can either pay it off in full without interest or pay only part of the cost incurring between 29.5% APR and a massive 39.8% APR. This has got to be one of the highest interest rates, short of visiting a loan shark.
The interest rate didn’t concern us as we planned to pay off the whole cost once the statement arrived. In fact we would have paid for the purchase when ordering if that had been an option. If anyone is looking at purchasing on credit my advice is to throw that catalogue in the bin before you even get tempted. You’d be far better off with one of the more reputable catalogue companies which have much better payment terms.
We didn’ t receive a statement until during January. The statement however said that because we hadn’t paid the minimum amount on the previous statement (which we had never received), we had been hit with a large missed payment fee on top of the cost of the items. This is where we had to try and phone their customer service line. It took a lot of attempts at making calls trying different times on different days before we finally got through. When you ring the number you are connected to the companies switchboard which gives a message about being stuck in a queue. Please hold …. Please hold …. Please Hold … Please Hold .. and on and on. Eventually the phone was answered, the non-payment fee removed and the goods paid for. We have since received our phone bill and the cost of all these phone calls were nearly £5. The 08706 numbers they provide, may sound like they may be a local or freephone number, but they are in fact expensive national rate phone numbers.
If you factor in the cost of the phone calls and any interest you can easily end up spending far more than any high street shop. I therefore suggest giving “Studio” catalogue a very wide berth.
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