News Column

Payday Lender 'Comes to Its Senses' over Puppets in Ads

July 14, 2014



LONDON, July 14 -- The Citizens Advice Bureau issued the following news release:

Citizens Advice highlights the risk of using fictional characters to promote high cost loans as the new Chair of Wonga commits to cleaning up the firm's advertising including dropping the use of puppets. In March this year, Citizens Advice reported seven payday loan adverts to the Advertising Standards Authority including two from Wonga.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

"Cartoon characters promoting payday lending send the wrong message to borrowers. Years of debt are not cuddly or jovial, but instead are tough and distressing. It is good that one of the biggest payday lenders has come to its senses that fictional characters and adverts during children's programmes are not an appropriate way to promote high-cost loans. Hopefully this is a sign that the industry is starting to take responsibility for its behaviour.

"Citizens Advice has been calling for lenders to be clear and transparent about the loans on offer. For many people, the picture painted by payday loan adverts is a far cry from the reality of ballooning debts and harsh collection practices. It is utterly unacceptable for payday lenders to be initiating pester power by running adverts that appeal to children.

"There is a clear demand for short-term credit as people look for money to tide them over or cover unexpected costs because rising prices continue to be out of step with wages. What consumers need are responsible lenders that don't overload them with loans they can't afford to pay back. It's also important consumers have more choice, and that banks start to look at introducing a responsible micro-loan."

The Advertising Standards Authority has yet to provide its ruling on the seven payday loan adverts reported by Citizens Advice (http://pressoffice/press_index/press_20140301.htm).

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