A payday lender has been told not to repeat one of its radio adverts by the ad regulator.
Cash On Go Ltd, trading as Peachy.co.uk, was found to have mislead listeners in its phrasing of its representative APR.
The ad stated: “Need a cash cow after Christmas? Here, milk ours. Apply for a short-term loan with Peachy Loans; borrow up to £500 and payback on a date to suit you. Try the Peachy Loans calculator at peachy.co.uk and you could ‘heifer’ response in minutes. Go to Peachy.co.uk and let Peachy put a smile on your face. Over 18s, subject to status, representative APR 1918% terms and conditions apply”.
Two complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading because the 1918% APR figure was read as “nineteen eighteen per cent”, which they believed was likely to confuse listeners.
Cash On Go Ltd said they were satisfied that the ad met the requirements of the Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2010. They acknowledged that the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) was read as “nineteen eighteen per cent” but asserted that this was commonly-used phrasing for reading numbers. They said there was no intention to mislead consumers but for the avoidance of doubt they would read the number as ‘one thousand nine hundred and eighteen’ in future.
The RACC said they cleared the script with the APR expressed factually as a number, without any instruction as to how the number would be read out.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that Cash On Go Ltd were satisfied that the ad was compliant with the Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2010. However, the ad was also subject to the BCAP Code. BCAP Code rule 3.2 stated that “Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.”
While the ad watchdog acknowledged that it was common to read some types of numbers, such as telephone numbers, in the manner heard in the ad, it did not consider that to be a common phrasing for reading important financial information, such as APRs. It considered that the APR was read in an unclear and ambiguous manner, and could have been misheard or misunderstood by listeners.
Although the ASA welcomed Cash On Go Ltd’s assurance that in future they would read out APRs in full, because we considered the ad had read material information in an unclear and ambiguous manner, it concluded that it had breached the Code.