One of our key strategic goals is to increase the access to debt advice in a way that better suits customer need, and as a body with a statutory function for debt advice, we are well placed to bring organisations together to help tackle this issue. Building on the work of our debt advice sector stakeholders, MaPS submitted a detailed complaint to the ASA, outlining concerning, misrepresentative claims which organisations were making online.
Following the submission of these complaints and after full consideration, the ASA found in favour of MaPS in the majority of the concerns raised. This of course was a very positive move, but we were all aware that even though the organisations in question would not be able to advertise, it would not stop others replicating this bad practice.
It was clear from feedback we received during our Better Debt Advice challenge process, that these issues had not gone away. Throughout the process, we received fantastic insight from frontline advice services detailing the problems which these adverts continued to cause. Ultimately, the challenge group recommended that MaPS undertook more detailed policy work on the issues surrounding online advertising for debt services.