ASA takes action against misleading debt advice ads

Regulatory Updates | 27/01/21

The ASA have published two rulings involving commercial debt advice companies, National Direct Service and Fidelitas Group Ltd who made various misleading claims, in paid-for search ads and on their websites, about their services. They have taken this action in response to complaints from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) following its review of advertising practices by providers of commercial debt advice / solutions.

In summary, they have banned several ad claims by both advertisers that:
• Exaggerated the speed and ease with which debt can be reduced
• Misleadingly suggested associations with a genuine debt charity (StepChange Debt Charity) and/or endorsement by the Government or other third parties
• Misleadingly suggested that they were qualified to provide debt counselling (including suitability for bankruptcy) or that they did anything more than pass on leads
• Included misleading reviews and rating claims that did not make clear the risks associated with Individual Voluntary Arrangements.