The email subject line said ‘Happy Birthday from Pounds to Pocket’.
The text in the body of the email said: “At Pounds to Pocket, we’d like to wish you the best on your special day! Now you can apply for the money you need to enjoy your birthday worry-free. Plus, take advantage of our special offer to you: Save 20% on your first scheduled payment if approved when you apply today for up to £2,000.”
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) upheld a complaint by the Citizens Advice Bureau which ruled the email was ‘irresponsible’ to encourage ‘frivolous spending and promoted the process of borrowing as trivial and without responsibility’.
CashEuroNetUK LLC, which trades as Pounds to Pocket, said it went to great lengths to ensure that the adverts were not targeted at individuals or groups for whom they would be inappropriate or detrimental, for example, children. The lender said it believed the content of its ads was socially and ethically responsible.
Pounds to Pocket said the email was aimed at consumers who had previously shown interest in a payday loan and were already considering taking one out.
It said the purpose of the congratulatory, birthday-based promotion was to show customers that their business was valued, and the applied discount was to be an additional birthday gift for them.
The lender denied that the email was designed to tempt consumers to take a loan in a frivolous or ill-advised fashion purely on the basis of a birthday discount.
It explained that the reference to ‘money you need to enjoy your birthday worry-free’ related to the comfort that a customer would have knowing that they had enough money to cover essential costs. The customer could enjoy their birthday ‘worry-free’ having all the money they needed generally, not just to fund birthday celebrations.
The ASA ruled the email breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising). The advert cannot appear again in its current form.