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Complainant Name:
Wonga

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Daily Record

Complaint:

Wonga complained to the Press Complaints Commission via solicitors that the newspaper had published inaccurate information on its front and inside pages in the form of two articles in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainant said that the newspaper incorrectly stated that a 13-year-old schoolboy had been offered a 400 loan by Wonga, and that the loan would amass 23,340 interest in a year, which would take the boy 98 years to pay off with his 5-a-week pocket money. The complainant stated that the child had not been offered a loan, as the company did not lend to people under 18; rather, he had received marketing material explaining the company's digital finance business. In any case, the total amount an individual who took a loan of this sum would ever be liable to pay, even if they made no attempt to repay the loan, would have been 843.44. Furthermore, they complained that the article incorrectly claimed that Wonga had failed to explain how the company came to have the boy's contact details. It had, in fact, told the newspaper that "it appeared that an online survey was filled out in [his] name, where his age was given as over 18".

Resolution:

The newspaper considered that the marketing communication did amount to an offer, and that the family denied that they had filled out the survey in the boy's name. The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication on page two of the paper of the following correction:

In our article of 23 November 2013 "Wronga.com" we said that Wonga had offered 13-year-old Drew Dalson a 400 pay day loan which would have taken him 98 years to pay back with his 5 a week pocket money. We now accept that this is not true. Even if Drew had been able to borrow 400 from Wonga and not repaid it for a year, he would only have had to repay 843.44 and not the 23,340 as reported. Further, Drew was not offered a loan by Wonga. He received a marketing letter inviting him to consider a Wonga loan. Contrary to our claims in the article and editorial, Wonga did provide an explanation as to why they had his details. They told us that a survey was filled out in Drew's name stating he was over 18 and willing to receive marketing communications.

Date Published: 28/03/2014



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