Store accounts: easy to open, not so easy to close

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Store accounts: easy to open, not so easy to close

You are legally entitled to written confirmation that an account has been closed, so don’t be fobbed off

Consumer journalist

What’s the best way to get out of debt? As with most challenges, by taking small but consistent steps. Choose your smallest debt and pay it off as quickly as possible, then move on to the next smallest debt, using the money you’ve freed up by paying off the first, and so on.

Store accounts are a good place to start, given they have a relatively high interest rate and, for many, that piece of plastic in the wallet often leads to a spell of retail therapy, which is later regretted.

About a decade ago I decided to settle my three store-card balances and close those accounts. It was a liberating exercise, but getting the companies concerned to send me a letter confirming I owed them nothing, and that the account had been closed, was an uphill battle. That infuriated me, because if the company or a debt collector had hounded me for payment a few years later, without justification, I would have needed proof that I owed nothing...

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