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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Hard Sell
Mark Stevens
Mark Stevens is angry over his ISA's performance
When it comes to advertising, we're all used to the hard sell, with companies using increasingly sophisticated strategies to persuade us to choose their product.

But what happens when the thing being sold is not a box of cornflakes or soap powder but a pension, or a loan? Should the rules be different?

Radio 4 listener Mark Stevens is concerned that some financial advertising is cynical and misleading. He bought an ISA after receiving a deluge of unsolicited promotional material, quoting very impressive past performance figures - like the fact that the investment had grown by 67% in the last year alone.

But in fact in the twelve months since Mark bought the ISA, it hasn't grown at all - it has shrunk by 20%.

Mark is also worried about another marketing tool - the use of celebrities to endorse financial products. He thinks that in both cases there is a danger of consumers being misled into buying the wrong product for the wrong reasons.

In this week's Inside Money Mark joins presenter Lesley Curwen to hear from victims of the hard sell, and to challenge the industry and its regulators.

Click here to view or save transcript

Internet links:
 FSA Consumer Advice
 FSA Research on Past Performance
 Independent Television Commission
 Advertising Standards Authority

Internet Links: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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