Fair Point: Never mind the ads, can’t we ban the loan sharks?

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Why would any company pick Kerry Katastrophe to promote their products?

The girl’s a walking disaster zone. A former drug-taker, bipolar, a string of failed relationships, her home repossessed, bankruptcy... though the chaos that is Kerry – financially speaking anyway – seemed right up a payday loans company’s repossession-strewn street.

Knowing their customers would relate to her, they got Katona in to encourage people in debt to get a loan the easy way with her phrase “fast money for fast lives”. Don’t bother with all those forms at the bank, she enthused; get a quickie loan instead.

A fast life? Surely that implies a glam lifestyle in the fast lane? And that a loan at an exorbitant interest rate (the company, Cash Lady, charges an obscene 2000 per cent in interest) is better than someone actually trying to sort their debts out.

Yep, that’s what the advertising watchdogs felt and this tacky TV ad that Kerry’s agent should have the sense to say no to, has been banned.

The pity is we can’t ban the payday loans rather than just the ads. Vulnerable people deeply worried about money are easy meat for indecent, money-grabbing loan companies.

When you’re in debt and you’ve missed your payments, you think you can’t go anywhere else for help. You borrow more to keep the wolves from the door, then end up with even bigger ones baying at the door.

The StepChange Debt Charity, which tries to help people in debt, reports widespread malpractice by lenders and worried clients with monthly payday loan payments totalling £1,657 – over £300 more than their monthly wage, leaving no money to buy food or pay their bills. Unless you borrow some more money, of course.

How can that be legal?