Crackdown on credit firms with ‘misleading’ names

confused by helpline

confused by helplineThe time comes when we all need some advice on money matters, but have you ever been confused about whether the people you're speaking to are a charity or a straight business?

If in the past you've been left baffled by a financial firm's use of words such as 'helpline', it shouldn't happen again. For the Office of Fair Trading has banned firms offering credit services from using names which could mislead us into thinking they're a charity or government body.

The ruling means such firms will no longer be able to use words such as 'helpline' or 'debtline' in their names.

The OFT guidance will stop firms from using names which suggest they are a public service, something which can further muddy an already complex situation in many cases.

It said firms should not use their names to take advantage of families seeking free, impartial advice.

The watchdog warned that firms with names considered misleading are likely to have their licence renewal refused, with the same warning to new firms applying to register 'misleading' names.

David Fisher, director of consumer credit at the OFT, said: "Businesses are free to choose trading names as long as they are not misleading or otherwise undesirable, for example, where they do not make clear the nature of a business or where it pretends to be something it is not.

"The name of a business can be important to consumers when choosing a supplier and they should not be misled in this regard."