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SHOULD GOVERNMENT REGULATE CREDIT CARD ADVERTISEMENTS?

September 5, 2017

The tobacco industry’s advertising was regulated and as a result many people have quit smoking.

Yesterday I received a splashy piece of ad-mail from HSBC that announced “CUSTOMIZE AN HSBC MASTERCARD THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU.”

Alright let’s think about that for a moment.  First to what extent can I customize it?  Perhaps I can choose an interest rate that I like maybe 1% per annum?  Nope!  Hmm then maybe I can change some of the terms, to something like “if I miss three payments in a row because I lost my job I can defer those payments without penalty”?  Nope!

I could go on but you obviously get the point, nothing is about obtaining credit is negotiable – we are not entering into contracts with lenders as equal participants in the forming of a contract.  If lenders were required to be truthful and not allowed to make debt sound so attractive we would have less people having financial problems – not just debt problems.