Payday loan firm Cash Lady has been slapped down over a TV ad, which was found to play on former bankrupt Kerry Katona’s financial crisis to promote how easy it was to get a loan, under the strapline “fast cash for fast lives”.
The ad featured the ex-Atomic Kitten and I’m a Celebrity star talking about her own money woes with phrases such as “We’ve all had money troubles – I know I have”, and “You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan”.
But it sparked a flood of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, with 29 people claiming it encouraged people with similar money troubles to borrow cash.
Cash Lady owner PDB UK denied this and said the ad made no reference to her bankruptcy. It added that as its loans were limited to £300, they were aimed at people experiencing relatively short-term financial difficulties.
Banning the ad, the industry regulator ruled it was misleading and irresponsible for promoting itself as an alternative to banks, while offering interest rates in excess of 2000% . Additionally, it found the terms and conditions were not clear enough on-screen and that some viewers would misunderstand the ad to mean a Cash Lady payday loan could fund a lifestyle similar to Katona’s.
The decision follows a report by debt charity StepChange which showed the number of people seeking help with payday loans more than doubled in the past year to 36,413 – up almost 20,000 from the total in 2011.
It also comes as the payday loan sector faces a clampdown on advertising, on the back of a highly critical Office of Fair Trading report.
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