Nationwide brands ads "confusing"

14 April 2004
Lloyds TSB's new advertising campaign has been branded "confusing" by its rival Nationwide.

The attack comes because Nationwide feels the personal loan adverts imply that most customers are likely to pay a lower rate than is actually the case.

Lloyds TSB's campaign is currently running on TV and advertises a typical loan rate of 6.9 per cent. The problem, however, is that rate applies only to loans above £7,500, hence, Nationwide's accusations of confusing branding.

Additionally, even above this £7,500 minimum, the rate will depend on the borrower's credit rating and on whether the application is made online or through a branch.

A Lloyds TSB customer, Marcus Farr, recounts his experience after he was quoted a rate of more than 15 per cent. "I only wanted to borrow £3,000 but saw that Lloyds claimed to be offering some of the cheapest rates on the high street. I realised the 6.9 per cent was only a guide, but I assumed I'd be charged something close to that level. Instead they offered well over twice the advertised rate."

A spokeswoman for Nationwide said: "The typical rate it is advertising of 6.9 per cent doesn't necessarily represent the rate the customer will be offered, which could be upwards of 14.9 per cent."

Yet, a spokeswoman for Lloyds said she was "confident" the campaign did not breach any advertising guidelines. She further commented, "We make it clear that this rate is only available for customers borrowing more than £7,500 and the typical rate for those taking a loan through a high street branch is 7.9 per cent."