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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 03:02 GMT
Watchdog criticises credit advert
Pound coins
Researchers have found young adults rely increasingly on borrowing
A leaflet produced for a fashion and home catalogue has been criticised by the advertising watchdog for encouraging women to get into debt.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the mailing, from part of the Littlewoods Group, was irresponsible.

The watchdog concluded the Shop Direct Financial Services leaflet, which reads "hot dates won't wait 'till pay day", encouraged excessive credit spending.

The company said it believed it had complied with consumer protection laws.

Over 18s

The mailing for the Direct Plus account continued: "By the time you can afford that sexy new outfit, Mr Right, or Mr Right Now, could be long gone."

A cartoon scene of a young woman was captioned: "'Not another new outfit, how can she afford it?'

"If only they knew her secret."

Shop Direct Financial Services, which provides Littlewoods catalogue users with credit accounts, said the leaflet had been sent to people over the age of 18 and carried details of the interest rate.

Customers would be credit scored to assess their ability to pay, it added.

But the Advertising Standards Authority said the advert portrayed an aspirational lifestyle purchased impulsively on credit and was likely to be seen as encouraging young women to spend excessively on credit.

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