The Office of Fair Trading released their new debt management guidance in June this year and debt management companies were invited to take part in a consultation process. One aspect of this guidance was the use of social media by debt management companies. It appeared that fee-charging debt management companies might be banned, by the OFT, from using Facebook, Twitter and, possibly, Google Adwords.
ClearDebt’s Andrew Smith has been quite outspoken on his disagreement with the idea that debt management companies could be banned from using social media and was quoted in the Telegraph last month saying:
What they are looking at are today’s methods of mass marketing, and they are not giving us the opportunity to compete. Also, they are limiting one of the best ways of exposing the cowboys. When cowboys turn up in our industry one of the best ways of exposing their lack of knowledge or experience is by debating with them on social media.
Here are some of the other reactions to this, as expressed through the social media channel Twitter, you can view the OFT’s response at the end of this blog post.
Since we wrote this article, the OFT have told us that there is no intention to ban debt resolution companies from using social networking, but that companies will have to be careful that statements they make will be clear and truthful. This seems right and fair, but we look forward to seeing the OFT’s detailed guidance on the issue – and will continue to watch the story, and comment, until then.