Belfast Telegraph

Happy birthday email lands lender in trouble

By Simon Read

Will payday lenders ever stop their irresponsible advertising?

Another one was banned and slammed last week for encouraging consumers to take out an expensive short-term loan for frivolous spending.

The Advertising Standards Authority also said that the ad for Pounds to Pocket – owned by CashEuroNet – "promoted the process of borrowing as trivial and without responsibility".

Citizens Advice had complained about the Happy Birthday email from the lender which said: "At Pounds to Pocket, we'd like to wish you the best on your special day! Now you can apply for the money you need to enjoy your birthday worry-free."

A 20% bonus was offered on a first scheduled payment for anyone applying on the day the e-mail was received and further text added that, if approved, the applicant's funds would be sent within 10 minutes.

The ASA said taking a loan was a serious decision, which required thorough deliberation.

"By encouraging recipients to take advantage of the service through a special offer discount for immediate application, Pounds to Pocket had urged a decision, thereby limiting the amount of time those interested in a loan were able to give to proper consideration," it said.

In short, the lender's email "was irresponsible" and must be scrapped.

Citizens Advice reported seven payday loan adverts to the Advertising Standards Authority in March, including two from Britain's most profitable high-cost credit company Wonga.

This is the ASA's first ruling on any of the seven complaints.

The charity's chief executive Gillian Guy said that payday loans can add to financial worries, not take them away.

The ban came a week after payday lender Wonga said it would no longer use puppets in its advertising.

Payday lenders have also been rapped for nuisance calls to potential customers.

Belfast Telegraph