16 October 2003
Inaccurate APR alert!
South West London project reveals shocking results
Merton Trading Standards recently took part in a South West London project to check compliance with Consumer Credit Advertising Regulations, with shocking results – almost half of all adverts had at least one thing wrong in them.
The project, in association with six other Trading Standards authorities, studied 124 adverts for credit deals. Almost 50 per cent had at least one thing wrong in them, while many had two or three things incorrect. Seventeen adverts quoted incorrect APRs – the rate consumers use to compare credit deals, and 15 adverts did not display this information prominently enough, which could lead to consumers missing out on this information altogether.
The Consumer Credit Legislation is often misunderstood by traders, so The Office of Fair Trading and Department of Trade and Industry are currently reviewing the Consumer Credit Act and associated regulations, in order to clarify and modernise the legislation.
Ian Murrell, Merton Council’s Commercial and Trading Standards Manager, said “Credit adverts appear everywhere and credit is the most common way consumers purchase high cost goods such as cars or furniture. Adverts are heavily relied upon by consumers when considering where to make a purchase, but the results of this project demonstrate that they are not reliable in conveying the full and correct financial information.
‘Consumers should be cautious when reading and relying on credit adverts, and it is advised to always double check all financial information provided in an advert before signing any credit agreements.’
Guidance on general principles of credit advertising is available for Merton based traders from Trading Standards on 020 8545 4018.