A broker platform for payday lenders has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Agency for sending unsolicited text messages that “trivialised” payday loans.
Nouveau Finance Ltd provides access to a panel of lenders for their affiliate partners to connect to.
But the ASA received complaints after AMC Marketing, operating on behalf of Nouveau Finance, sent two texts between November and January last year.
The first, received on 6 November 2013, stated: “If you need £200 today and can afford to pay back on your payday then unlock it TODAY with us at www.paydayunlocked.com – We trust you. ReplyStop2End”.
The second, received on 14 December 2013, read: “We can offer you up to £400 to help with Christmas this year. Verify your details at www.paydayunlocked.com and we can transfer your money within 15 minutes”.
However Nouveau claimed that it had asked AMC Marketing for “opt-in information” but it had not been provided.
But ASA said Nouveau were responsible for the actions of its affiliates. In a statement ASA said: “The ASA understood that Nouveau Finance controlled the website to which the messages directed recipients at the time the messages were sent and had employed AMC Marketing to send marketing messages on their behalf.
“We considered that, as the company receiving the benefit of having consumers directed to a website under their control, Nouveau Finance had a duty to ensure that any party employed to promote that website did so in accordance with the CAP Code.
“We therefore considered that Nouveau Finance should be considered to be responsible for the ads, in association with AMC Marketing.”
ASA also found that the messages were trivialising payday borrowing. It said: “We considered that taking out a high-interest, short-term loan was a step that should only be taken following careful consideration and considered that marketers should take care to advertise those products responsibly.
“We noted that both of the text messages referred to consumers being able to receive money within a very short amount of time and considered that this gave the impression that the decision to take out a payday loan was one that could be approached without forethought or detailed consideration.
“Because we considered that both text messages made light of the decision to take out a payday loan, we concluded that the ads were irresponsible.”
ASA judged that the ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Nouveau Finance Ltd and AMC Marketing to ensure that appropriate consent had been given before sending, or employing others to send on their behalf, marketing communications by text message, and to ensure that their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society.