Frivolous' holiday loan ad banned

Firm suggested using funds to pay for a holiday

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Payday Loans

An ad for a loan company has been banned for encouraging "frivolous" spending of borrowed money after it suggested using the funds to buy a Caribbean holiday.

The television ad for Borro.com featured a couple talking about how the money could do "so many amazing things" such as "help start a business, pay school fees" or "fly us to the Caribbean".

On-screen text listed a representative APR of 69% before a voiceover said: "With Borro, you can secure a loan using assets like jewellery, art, antiques. It's fast, easy, and there's never a credit check."

Three viewers challenged whether the ad irresponsibly encouraged consumers to take out loans for non-essential purposes such as holidays and leisure activities.

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The ad clearance service Clearcast, which responded on Borro.com's behalf, said although holidays might be seen as a frivolous product on which to spend money, consumers would not be at risk if they were securing a loan against relatively small assets, such as a watch, whereas in other forms of lending, consumers' property or salary might be at risk.

Clearcast believed the ad was not irresponsible in showing how consumers might spend the money because of the lesser risk and relatively low APR.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said taking out a loan was a step that should only be undertaken following careful consideration, and marketers should take care to advertise those products responsibly.

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It said: "We considered that the reference to using high-interest, short-term credit to fund non-essential purchases such as holidays was likely to be seen as encouraging frivolous spending of that borrowed money.

"We also considered the claims 'It's fast, easy, and there's never a credit check' and 'Money within 24 hours of valuation' suggested the loan could be obtained quickly and easily, and contributed to an impression that careful thought was not required in advance of taking out a loan that was also suggested could be used to fund non-essential purchases.

"Because we considered the reference to using a loan to fund a holiday encouraged frivolous spending of borrowed money, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible."

It ruled that the ad must not appear in its current form, adding: "We told Borro Ltd to ensure that future marketing communications did not advertise loans in an irresponsible way."

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