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HONITON:Seniors angered by ‘ageist’ ads

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

SENIOR residents in Honiton have hit out at “ageist” advertising by payday loans companies, and have called for the regulator to take older people’s views more seriously, writes JACK?DIXON. Honiton Senior Voice – the community mouthpiece for older people’s issues – claims the payday loans company Wonga is using “grossly inaccurate” ads to promote its services. And its members issued a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about the “offensive” television trails broadcast recently. The use of digital puppets representing older people to promote “dodgy financial practices” is particularly objectionable, they claim, since most senior residents would not endorse such an approach. Members have also made clear their objection to the distribution of “fake letters” associated with images of older people, sent out to customers to bolster the company’s advertising claims. Senior Voice chairman Vic Bowsher said: “We welcome proposals to restrict the amount of interest payday loan companies can charge and the fine imposed on sending out fake letters to thousands of customers. “However, it is highly offensive and objectionable to our members that images of older people are still being used to promote dodgy financial practices which most older people would not engage in. “We think it is reasonable that the Advertising Standards Authority should ban such advertising which in our view is neither truthful or honest.” The group’s concerns were dismissed by the regulator, which ruled that though the adverts could be interpreted as “distasteful”, they were “unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence”. But Senior Voice spokesman Tony Simpson said older residents were disappointed with the ruling and insisted that their complaints were reasonable. He added: “If the advertising is not misleading then why is the Government banning the huge rates of interest these companies charge and imposing restrictions on them and their fees, after many similar complaints? “We consider that our complaint is reasonable and feel sure that many of our members will agree.”

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