Wonga.com escapes ad ban despite slew of complaints

Wonga.com, the online short-term loan company, has escaped an ad ban by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), despite more than 80 complaints against its advertising.

Wonga has come under public and media scrutiny for the high cost of its loans.

In this particular case, the ASA was hit by 82 complaints about Wonga.com's current ads, claiming they misled people by not stating an annual percentage rate (APR) of interest.

However, only three of the complainants specified the TV ad, which the ASA then investigated, while the rest of the consumers' complaints concerned the brand's advertising in general.

The ad, created by Albion, showed three puppets depicting elderly people working in an office, discussing the brand. The ad said: "We make decisions instantly," "Money could be in your account in 15 minutes", and "We're fast here." Text stated: "18+. Subject to status. T&C apply."

Wonga.com answered the complaints by stating that it had developed a "transparent" method for detailing the actual cost of borrowing on its website, adding that comprehensive terms and conditions were in place.

The ASA cleared the complaint, noting that Wonga.com's ad only described its product in broad terms that directed consumers to its website in order to apply for a load. Once on the site, the APR was clearly marked out.

Wonga.com’s APR rate is 4,214% for its short-term loans.

In the past two weeks, Premier and Football League clubs have stopped carrying the brand’s advertising on their own sites as the commercial contract came to a close.

However, a recent campaign led by football fans had called on clubs to stop running Wonga.com's advertising due to the high interest rate, according to reports.

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith on Twitter @loullamae_es

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