Around 20% of consumer credit advertisements are misleading customers, says Financial Conduct Authority
20% of adverts broadcasted by finance and credit companies are guilty of misleading viewers, according to the industry regulator.
The Financial Conduct Authority has identified that some of the strategies being utilised by payday lenders at present include ìtargeting young audiences ì, by applying their brand to itinerary typically used by children such as colouring-in sheets.
This is despite the fact that payday loans and financial products such as these cannot even be taken out by someone until there 18, and brings into disrepute the ethics of a number of credit firms who are shockingly trying to popularise and push their high interest loans onto the youth of today, in order for a high gain in the future.
The FCA did not publish the names of any of the offending parties, but sources from the Guardian have suggested that British-based payday loan firm Speedy Cash have been guilty of handing out colouring-in sheets with their branded kangaroo mascot on the paper holding a large wad of cash, as well as distributing leaflets then promote their loan products, which come with a heft interest rate of 2,115.69% APR.
The FCAís investigation into the way that credit companies promote their products was conducted by analysing over 550 different advertisements for a multitude of different consumer credit products on offer at present.
This included ads for credit cards, debt management plans, logbook loans, payday loans and retail finance, and the FCA compellingly found that a sizeable 108 ads had failed to adhere to regulations that clearly state that promotions should be ì"clear, fair and not misleading". Of the 108 offending advertisements, 38 were identified as being payday loan promotions, with debt management firms being the next worst offenders with 18 guilty ads.
The FCA also found that poor advertisement practice extended across all promotion mediums, including through the media, in store, direct mailing, and on online advertising of loan products.
It said that there were numerous examples of vital information which should have been clearly identified in an advertisement being either withheld or extremely hard to locate.
Examples of offences which had breached official rules on promotion include:
Adverts where information about the fees associated with the product were either withheld completely or were ìburied in the terms and conditions.
Companies alleging that usage of their product would have a positive effect on rehabilitating a personís credit rating
Companyís alleging that taking out their product would help an individual clear off their debt, when really it is just consolidating debt to pay back at a later date.
Companies whose advertisements urged viewers to click on an ìapplyî button for a loan before theyíve been able to have the opportunity to look at vital information about the product.
The FCA identified that since the completion of its investigation, 75 organisations have responded to them, all of which have removed or changed their products to conform to official regulations. The other guilty firms are currently in the process of addressing the issue, as the FCA cranks up the pressure on credit companies in order to achieve its aim of cleaning up the industry.
Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the regulator, said: "It is particularly important in this sector that advertisements for financial products enable customers to make informed decisions. We think that more can be done to ensure that advertisements are fair, clear and not misleading."