Debt advice company posed as not-for-profit

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints about a debt advice service that posed falsely as a not-for-profit organisation.

National press ads by the Debt Advice Trust described the organisation as an “independent, not-for-profit organisation that gives free support and guidance to people in serious debt”.

But the three directors of DAT were also the three executive directors of Debt Free Direct – now known as the Fairpoint Group – a commercial company with a turnover of £28m.

The advertising watchdog said the trust’s close links with the Debt Free Direct meant that it had a financial interest in the advice it gave.

DAT’s constitution states that all profits go to the Debt Advice Foundation, a registered charity whose last published accounts, for 2006, revealed no expenditure.

Two of DAT’s directors are trustees of the Debt Advice Foundation.

The watchdog told DAT not to use the term ‘not-for-profit organisation’ in its advertising. DAT said the ads were no longer running.

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Advertising Standards Authority

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