Truck shops spark debt concerns

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 16/12/2013

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As the festive season approaches, Taranaki budget services are warning people against the temptation of racking up debt with door-to-door truck shops.

Hawera Budget Service co-ordinator Julie Gaudin said she was aware people used the trucks to buy expensive items like cellphones and labelled clothing.

"Then they spend the rest of the year doing it hard," she said.

Mrs Gaudin said one of her clients had debts with seven different truck shops.

"It would be very rare for people who come in here not to have a debt with a clothing truck," said Mrs Gaudin, who works part time at her Union St office.

She said the mobile shops appealed to people who did not have transport and they offered an opportunity to buy products they would not normally be able to afford without having to have the money up front.

This was also the case in North Taranaki, according to New Plymouth Budget Advisory Service manager Jocelyn Merwood.

"We find the clothing trucks are going to the areas that can least afford to shop in clothing trucks," she said.

She said the amount of debt her clients owed was a concern and they often paid more than they needed to for everyday items.

"We had a client the other day who paid $50 for a towel," Mrs Merwood said.

The trucks visit customers in their homes with a range of different products, including clothing and electronic goods which are often available for immediate purchase.

Both Mrs Gaudin and Mrs Merwood said the truck shops even sold food.

"One golden rule is: never go into debt for food," said Mrs Merwood, who suggested people use foodbanks or other available services instead.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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