With the arrival of the annual Black Friday spending spree, a North East debt expert has advised regional shoppers not to let the increasing availability of store credit put them too deep into debt over the forthcoming festive season.

Andrew Haslam, North East chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, was speaking after the reintroduction or extension by a number of major-name retailers of the ‘buy now pay later’ arrangements that are available to their customers.

One major high street retailer recently launched a new credit offering which allows online customers to pay for purchases over £30 in four instalments and with six weeks interest-free, while financial companies which partner with retailers to provide instant credit to shoppers as they check out online are rapidly growing their client numbers.

Andrew Haslam, who is also head of specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP’s Newcastle office, says: “If they’re used properly, there’s nothing wrong with utilising ‘buy now pay later’ facilities, but it’s essential to remember that the payment deadline will inevitably arrive and that significant debt issues can quickly arise if shoppers fall behind on what they owe.

“With eye-catching Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales promotions bursting out all over the High Street and online, it can be all too easy to let your spending get out of control and to leave yourself with debt problems that last long into the new year.

“Financial worries can suddenly spiral due to changes in circumstances, and even spending a relatively small amount over your budget in a month can add up to a much larger problem over the course of a year, especially for those who don’t have any savings to fall back on.

“Anyone worried about their debt or struggling with their finances should speak to a qualified and regulated expert about their options as soon as they feel things are starting to get out of control, so that they have the best chance of finding a solution which can put them back on the road towards financial stability.”