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FCA takes action against 54 consumer credit promotions


FCA takes action against 54 consumer credit promotions

An investigation undertaken by Loan Talk has revealed The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that 54 consumer credit promotions have been amended or withdrawn as a result of complaints over the past year.

Following a Freedom of Information Request submitted by Loan Talk to the regulator, it revealed that it had received 72 separate complaints directly from firms regarding consumer credit products since July 2015, of which 16 cases were pursued.

These 16 cases led to 54 alterations or retractions, with some cases still ongoing.

In numbers

June 2016 saw the highest number of complaints received at a total of 13.

Despite receiving only nine complaints in January 2016, the FCA revealed that month had the highest number of promotions altered or withdrawn at 32.

December 2015 trailed in second with 11 altered or withdrawn promotions.

From this data one could infer that winter is the peak time for either unfair, unclear or misleading promotions, possibly due to higher consumer spending in the build up to the festive period. 

What is the basis for a complaint? 

The FCA insists that financial promotions must avoid the use of unfair comparisons and important information should not only be displayed in the small print.

Firms must also be clear about any charges, penalties or risks involved, and take into consideration the different levels of understanding about financial products by both the target and actual audience.

It also states that promotions must give a balanced impression of products or services and not disguise or diminish important warnings or statements.

Advertisers must not ‘cherry pick’ certain data or create unrealistic expectations by implying attractive rewards that in reality are achievable only in limited circumstances. 

What can the FCA do?

If a financial promotion is found to be misleading, the FCA has the legal power to get it withdrawn or prevent it from being used in the first place.

FCA staff will review a promotion or advert it believes to be misleading before referring the promotion to a committee.

The committee will decide whether or not to issue a warning. This warning leads to a legal request to remove the promotion.





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