Mobile truck shops 

What do I need to know if I’m thinking of buying goods from a mobile truck shop?

Buying from a mobile truck shop can be a convenient way to shop, but it’s often also a very expensive way to shop as well.
The main thing to watch out for is that you can end up paying a lot more for your goods than if you buy them elsewhere, and it’s really easy for your debts to get out of control.

Some things to think about when considering buying from a mobile truck shop include:
  • Make sure you know how much you’ll be paying in total for a particular item, compared to how much you’d pay for the same thing elsewhere. $30 per week may sound like an affordable way to buy a smartphone, but if your contract is for 12 months then you’re actually paying $1560 (plus any credit fees, interest charges etc). The seller may also apply interest, credit fees, default fees (if you miss a payment), early repayment fees (if you pay early) and/or other charges in addition to the purchase price. Be sure to find out what these fees are, and what they will add up to.
  • Find out exactly when the payments should start and stop and check your bank statement to ensure the direct debits start and stop on the right dates. 
  • Don’t sign more than one direct debit form.
  • If you can’t afford the payments without feeling stretched, don’t buy it.
  • If you aren’t sure, tell the salesperson that you need to speak to a budgeter before you sign anything. Then go and talk to a budgeter.
  • If your purchase is a consumer credit contract, know that you have the right to cancel out of the contract within 5 days of signing up. The Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act provides some protection if you buy consumer items on credit.

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If I buy a television in instalments from a mobile truck shop does this count as a consumer credit contract?

Generally, if you purchase the goods and can put off paying for them (e.g. you pay in instalments and you get the goods before you have paid in full) then it is a consumer credit contract, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with consumer credit contracts.

The mobile truck shop can sell goods in other ways too. For example the arrangement may be that you pay a number of instalments and only get possession of the goods after you have paid the total price or a specified portion of the total price. This type of purchase is more like a layby and your rights will be different from that for a credit sale. If you’re not sure what sort of agreement you’ve signed up to and what your rights are then contact your local CAB.