Caroline Toupin, CACQ & Hélène Gagnon, Quebec ACEF
Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Québec
According to the census analysis grid completed by the CACQ, this study shows that the majority of postal credit offers do not comply with federal and provincial regulations that were in effect at the time of the study. Those provisions were nevertheless put in place to protect the consumers. From a marketing point of view, the study confirms that the promotional techniques used by credit card companies are no different from the techniques recommended by direct mail specialists for any type of goods and services or companies. However, credit is not a consumer product like the others. It is a powerful financial tool that is difficult to master. Also, the present economical climate in Canada and throughout the world clearly shows that credit products can have severe consequences on the lives of consumers, including, most notably, overindebtedness which can cause additional physical and mental health repercussions. From a perspective aimed at fighting overindebtedness and at protecting consumers, a question needs to be asked: Can we offer credit products the same way other consumer goods are being offered to the consumers? This question bears closer scrutiny regarding the responsibility regarding the fight against overindebtedness.
This study shows that while the promotional messages contained in the offers are written using a clear, concise language, and a simple vocabulary, the credit information supplied is difficult to interpret even for the CACQ analysts who are specialists in the area of consumerism and for the other experts consulted.
From a fight against overindebtedness point of view, CACQ members, being established experts in the field of consumer protection, have campaigned to ban all forms of credit solicitation in Quebec for over 6 years. The results of this study have served to strengthen that position.
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OCA Funded ResearchThis research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.
Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Quebec
1600 De Lorimier ave, Suite 393
Montreal, Quebec H2K 3W5
Source: Consumer Policy Research Database