Fears are rightly being expressed that a new store opening in Elgin could cost hard-pressed Moray families a great deal more for consumer must-haves than they bargain for.
One of the early offers at the new Brighthouse store in the St Giles Centre seeks to entice buyers into obtaining the latest Samsung Galaxy S5 mobile phone at £13.90 a week.
However, sharp-eyed social media users are slamming the company for an offer that actually ties in the purchaser to a 104-week deal that would end up with their paying over four times the current cash price of the phone.
The store – which opened in Elgin on Thursday – is part of a growing chain throughout the UK that sells leading consumer brands at low weekly payments over extended periods.
It is a concept that has proven highly popular with hard-pressed families who might find it impossible to buy goods for more competitive cash prices – and who might also find it difficult to obtain credit.
Much as payday loan companies have found the recession fertile ground on which to make massive profits, so Brighthouse has achieved similar in the consumer goods market.
The representative APR for the Samsung mobile for those taking on the weekly payments is 94.7% – meaning the purchaser will have paid over £1,445.60p for an item they could purchase today online at Amazon for around £350.
A spokesman for the debt charity StepChange said: “Brighthouse represents a high-cost form of credit which, like payday loans, appears to be thriving in these straitened economic times.”
However, the Brighthouse concept has seen rapid expansion for the company in recent years – and the new Elgin store is indicative of the rising desire to have it now, no matter the end price.