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Marketing: Nationwide gets public warning over credit ad

The Office of Fair Trading has given a motor finance company a public warning over credit advertising, and reminded dealers to ensure their marketing is legal.

Online adverts by Nationwide Car Contracts Limited in Gloucestershire were considered by the OFT to be in breach of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2004.

Its adverts, which offered motor finance to consumers, were held in breach of the CCARs because they failed to include a typical APR when an interest rate was shown.

Following the warning, Nationwide, which trades at www.nationwidecars.co.uk, has agreed with the OFT that it will not breach the CCARs in future. If it fails to fulfil this obligation, the OFT or Trading Standards may prosecute its directors for contempt of court, leading to a fine or imprisonment.

Alan Williams, senior director of markets and projects services at the OFT, says: “Companies must ensure that consumers receive full and accurate information about the type and cost of the product and services being offered. The typical APR is a particularly important for enabling consumers to compare the cost of credit.”

The CCARs are designed to ensure that advertising is truthful and transparent. Typical APRs must be stated prominently, together with information on payments and charges.

The OFT has published a guide for businesses on its website (www.oft.gov.uk). A booklet, Credit Advertising, available for download, which provides a summary of the regulations.

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