Book-up is short-term credit the trader gives you that lets you buy goods or services from their shop and pay them later. You may need to leave some form of security like your debit or credit card or sign a form for a direct debit from your bank account to the trader. This is so the trader can be sure that the money will be repaid. Some shops charge you a fee for book-up and some don’t.
Book-up can help you manage your money:
There are disadvantages in using book-up:
When you set up a book-up account make sure you:
Jill had been booking-up items with a corner shop. When she went to check how much her account was she questioned why her bill was so high. The trader told her he had been letting her relatives book-up on her account. Jill told the trader that she was not responsible for the items that she had not authorised. The trader said she was. Jill told the trader that she gave approval only for her daughter and aunty to book-up on the account. Jill was able to show the trader her copy of the letter stating who could use the account. The trader still wanted the full amount owing from Jill.
Jill contacted Fair Trading to get information on how to solve the problem. A Customer Service Officer was able to help her resolve the matter with the trader. This was possible because Jill had kept all her receipts and the agreement she had with the trader.
You should ensure you follow these steps when setting up book-up accounts for your customers:
Traders must take care about demanding security as it may, in certain circumstances, be unacceptable conduct under the Australian Consumer Law. For example, if the trader is abusing their bargaining power or placing pressure on their customer to give some security.
TIPS: Set a maximum limit for your book-up. Ask a friend or family member to help you keep your records up to date.
David has an account with the local shop to buy items on credit. David wasn’t sure how much he owed, the cost of the items he had bought or what had been put on credit during the week. He asked the trader how much he owed but the trader wasn’t sure and had no records of what was booked-up.
David decided that he was not going to pay the amount the trader said he had to pay. There was no proof of the amount owed. The trader had little chance of recovering the money from David. He had not issued receipts, kept accurate records of things he had bought or given David a statement of the amount owing. The trader should have kept accurate records of all David’s transactions and made them available when asked.
If there is a problem with your book-up account, follow these steps: