21 June 2012
The Market Court has instated marketing bans for instant loan companies J.W.-Yhtiöt and OPR-Vakuus enforced with a penalty payment of 50,000 euros. Additionally, OPR-Vakuus has been ordered to pay a penalty payment of 50,000 euros for violating a previous marketing ban. Both companies have marketed their instant loans unlawfully.
In spring 2011, J.W.-Yhtiöt marketed its Reissuluotto and OPR-Vakuus its Pikavippi.fi with thousands of roadside advertisements in tens of localities. The advertisements did not include any of the information required by legislation or the information was printed in text so small it was in practice impossible to read. Neither company’s marketing approach was in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act wherein lenders are required to ensure that information is clear and easy to distinguish.
In March 2011, the Consumer Ombudsman forbade OPR-Vakuus from continuing its marketing campaign wherein not all the information required by legislation was easy to distinguish or clear. The ban was enforced with a penalty payment of 50,000 euros.
However, OPR-Vakuus continued its unlawful marketing even after the ban. The Consumer Ombudsman requested that the Market Court sentence the company to pay a penalty payment of 50,000 and that the court continue the ban on the company’s marketing with an increase to the penalty payment. The other option was that the Market Court instate a new similar ban and enforce it with a penalty payment of 100,000 euros. In April 2011, J.W.-Yhtiöt was ordered to temporarily terminate its marketing or to renew its unlawful marketing strategy . The ban was enforced with a 50,000 euro penalty payment.
On 19 June 2012, the court sentenced J.W-Yhtiöt to a new marketing ban enforced with a penalty payment of 50,000 euros. OPR-Vakuus was ordered to pay a previous penalty payment of 50,000 euros. The company was also sentenced to a new marketing ban, which is to also be enforced with a penalty payment of 50,000 euros.
According to Finnish legislation on consumer credits, lenders must act responsibly and take into account what is in the consumer’s best interest. Acting responsibly includes making sure that advertising does not promote ill-judged accumulation of debt and information that can be used to assess whether the credit is suitable for an individual’s needs is not withheld from consumers.