The rules which result in long, garbled warnings at the end of radio credit ads should be reformed to properly protect consumers according to Radiocentre.
The commercial radio body has submitted a case to the European Commission outlining the need for change. The regulation is designed to protect consumers but fails to achieve that goal. According to research, only 4% of people could recall any of the numbers moments after listening to one of these ads.
They do, however, deter advertisers from using the medium of radio. The cost to the UK radio industry is estimated to be more than €150 million per annum. This includes those who will not consider advertising on radio for fear of damaging their brand by association with lengthy, unhelpful warnings. And the extra cost to advertisers of buying up to 30 seconds of airtime to broadcast terms and conditions.
The requirement to include a worked example once a figure relating to the cost of credit is mentioned as part of a credit offer (for example, £199 a month) is written into the 2008 Consumer Credit Directive which was adopted into UK law in 2010. There was a technical review of the Directive in 2014 but no consultation with industry or consumers at that point.
The new submission is going into the REFIT programme part of the European Commission’s drive to bring in better regulation. The case is being made that the goal of the Directive is not being fulfilled as far as radio listeners are concerned and the terms and conditions are especially intrusive in an audio environment.
Radiocentre fully supports the goal of the Directive which is to better inform listeners and wants to work with the Commission to achieve that goal. The request is not to re-open the whole of the Consumer Credit Directive but rather to re-examine Article 4 and recognise the specificity of the medium of radio.
Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre said: “Radio listeners expect the best from their local stations and that includes what we broadcast in the ad breaks. They are baffled by lengthy terms and conditions at the end of credit ads and certainly don’t feel well informed by them. Our offer to the EU is to let us help devise punchy ads with warnings that really achieve the goal of properly informing radio listeners. That would be a win/win situation.”