Consumer Protection Against Misleading Advertising: Individual Voluntary Arrangements

Duffey, Rachel (2008) Consumer Protection Against Misleading Advertising: Individual Voluntary Arrangements. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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In recent months there has been widespread debate regarding the advertising of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). Several large providers have been found guilty of misleading consumers through their advertisements and many within the credit industry have accused so called �¢����IVA factories�¢���� of targeting vulnerable consumers and persuading them to enter into an arrangement when an alternative would be more appropriate.

Numbers of Individual Voluntary Arrangements have indeed risen exponentially in comparison to the number of insolvent debtors. This study considers the role advertising has played in this increase, whether this has been a result of misleading advertisements and whether the regulation in place to protect consumers is sufficient.

It begins with an overview of literary opinion including both links between consumerism and advertising and the economics benefits that increased information brings. The extent to which commentators believe consumers can be misled by advertisements is then considered and the need for regulation discussed.

These academic views are then considered in the context of the IVA market. The effects of advertising on numbers of arrangements and the changes in complexity and cost are then highlighted, followed by an overview of advertising regulation generally, and then more specifically in relation to IVAs. The number of breaches of regulation that occur despite these measures is then considered.

In order to assess advertising�¢����s role within the market a number of interviews were conducted with a range of industry members. The research sought to address a number of questions including; the relationship between advertising levels, the number of individuals entering into an IVA and fees; the extent to which advertisements are misleading; the stance that regulatory policy should adopt; whether current regulation provides sufficient protection for consumers and, if not, the changes that are necessary.

The research findings were analysed in light of these research aims and then discussed. The difficulties faced by regulators were considered alongside the need to strike a careful balance between protecting consumers and allowing suppliers to advertise without expensive or risky compliance requirements. Whether the current regulation achieves this balance is then discussed.

Finally a number of recommendations are made in relation to which regulatory body should provide consumer protection, how this should be enforced and the penalties that should be used.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Advertising regulation, economic benefits of advertising, individual voluntary arrangements, insolvency market
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2008
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 04:33

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