Payday lender Pounds to Pocket has been forced to stop sending emails encouraging the use of ‘worry-free’ loans to fund birthday celebrations by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The emails, which had the subject line “Happy Birthday from Pounds to Pocket” 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.
“Plus, take advantage of our special offer to you: Save 20% on your first scheduled payment if approved when you apply today for up to £2,000! Simply use the promo code below.”
The Citizens Advice Bureau brought the advert to the attention of ASA for promoting a casual and reckless attitude towards taking out a loan.
Pounds to Pocket defended itself by saying it went to “great lengths” to ensure the adverts were not targeting inappropriate individuals or groups such as children, arguing the emails were “ethically responsible”. Instead it said that the emails were targeting who have already shown an interest in taking out a Pounds to Pockets loan, meaning the purpose of the promotion “was to show customers that their business was valued, and the applied discount was to be an additional birthday gift for them”.
Since the discount was offered only on customers’ birthdays, the ASA said rash applications were encouraged, promoting a lack of deliberation when making the serious decision of taking out a loan.
It was added that having money to spend on birthdays may be desirable, but it is certainly not essential.