The Workers’ Party have called for the tightening up of laws on the advertising of banking and financial products to make it clearer to the public that many of these entail entering legal contracts which are enforceable in the courts.
Workers Party Research Officer Padraig Mannion has said that radio, television and print media advertisements accompanied by the slogan “Terms and Conditions Apply” do not always fully convey the legal implications of contract law to potential customers.
Mr. Mannion said that some institutions were deliberately fudging these disclaimers or trying to trivialise them. He gave an example of a radio advertisement for RaboBank which in which a wellknown broadcaster is heard to say “Terms and Conditions Apply, but no sneaky stuff”.
“Advertising disclaimers, particularly those on banking and financial products must be as clear to the public as the health warnings emblazoned on cigarette packets. These are not throw-away lines at the end of an advertisement, but warnings of legal implications in the event that the customer does not fully comply with the conditions being signed up to. They can have serious consequences for those availing of such products, including and up to possession of their homes. Indeed every year very many people actually, and the numbers are steadily rising, end up in prison due of non-payment of debt. The public need to be made fully aware of all this”, said Mr. Mannion.
“It is simply unacceptable that financial institutions and other advertisers can trivialise such disclaimers by adding humourous comments or having them in very small print or read out very quickly on radio ads. It is essential that the Financial Regulator steps in and ensures that the law is applied properly and if necessary it needs to be tightened up through legislation”, concluded Mr Mannion.
Issued: Friday 22nd October 2010