Compulsive buying is a serious problem, commonly associated with other psychological disorders. The two core elements of compulsive buying are the lack of self-control and the related negative consequences. The aim of the paper is to present: a) a few historical descriptions of this problem; b) some issues dealing with its definition; c) a few epidemiological data; and d) a number of explicative psychological models. Among models, the «escape-theory» appears to be of particular heuristic value in explaining compulsive buying. According to this theory, concrete and impulsive actions are performed to cope with a negative self-evaluation. In conclusion, we stressed the need for improvement of existing models by broadening the current psychological models with both biological and cultural aspects.