A payday lender has been banned from sending "irresponsible" texts that promoted the idea that payday loans can be used to fund a social life.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints that unsolicited texts sent by firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk irresponsibly suggested a loan should be used to fund social activities. The ASA also said it was unclear the texts were marketing messages.
The three text messages promoted by firstpaydayloanuk read:
- "Hi Mate I'm still out in town, just got £1,000 in my account from these guys firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk".
- "Hi Mate hows u? I'm still out in town, just got £850 in my account from these guys firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk".
- "You have been pre-approved for up to £1000 cash today. Apply now at firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk and receive your cash within 15 minutes, to opt-out reply STOP."
The ASA said the ads should not appear again in their current form.
In response, First Financial, which operates the website, said it was "merely responsible for setting up" the website, with Akklaim Telecoms sending the texts.
Akklaim Telecoms accepted responsibility for sending them, but did not respond to the specific complaints, nor did it provide any evidence that those receiving the texts gave their consent.
The ASA said: "We told First Financial and Akklaim Telcoms to ensure text message ads were clearly identifiable as marketing communications and were only sent to those who had given explicit consent to receive them. We also told them to ensure ads did not imply that payday loans were suitable for spending on a social life."
Payday lenders offer short-term, high-interest loans, usually on the understanding that the customer will repay the loan when they receive their next pay cheque. Some lenders have been criticised for charging excessive late payment fees and sky-high interest rates of 4,000% or more, leading to a recent investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.