Unsolicited credit card application forms

I have today received out of the blue a credit card application with my name & address pre-printed from the Halifax. I deliberately haven't had anything to do with the Halifax for over forty years (when it turned down my mortgage application- yes, that's how long I can hold a grudge).

Checking on MSE I see that it's part of the same group as the AA, where I do have a savings account.

A couple of questions:

1) Are banks still allowed to send out unsolicited junk inviting you to get into debt? I have a vague recollection that this was outlawed (?) It certainly strikes me as unethical.

2) Is the AA allowed to pass on my details to other banks?

Re question 2 I suppose it depends how closely I scrutinised the small print, tho I'm usually v good at ticking the box (Or not ticking it if they are trying to trick me by doing it that way round).

Re question 1: any use complaining to the Financial Ombudsman?

I'm possibly going a bit OTT about a bit of junk mail, but I do feel strongly about bankers encouraging people to get into debt (And 40 years on I still deeply resent the snotty way Halifax turned down my mortgage application)


  • chattychappy
    chattychappy Posts: 7,302 Forumite
    edited 4 November 2010 at 7:10PM
    Well you put it in a loaded way: "Are banks still allowed to send out unsolicited junk inviting you to get into debt?".

    I'm willing to stand corrected, but as far as I know they are so allowed. And I would hope they are - provision of credit is a perfectly legal service. I really don't want to see the government banning advertising of this sort on the basis of protecting people from themselves. I realise we've crossed that line in the case of cigarette advertising, for example. No doubt people can argue both cases both ways - but I would say that credit is not dangerous per se and is valued by many consumers. Indeed many people couldn't buy houses or start businesses without it.

    There are certain rules governing how these products are advertised - eg summary boxes, APRs etc.

    It's ironic that it was denial of credit that causes you to resent receiving this material so much! The banks will argue that the "pinch point" should be in the credit checking and responsible lending. Ie it's fine to advertise provided that applications are processed properly. Also there is considerable consumer protection - cancellation rights, restraint of unfair terms etc.

    So in summary - I think the way to protect consumers is through the processing of applications and the operation of credit, not a prohibition on advertising (this method or more generally).

    As for the list, it does sound as if AA sold on your data or at least you agreed they could use your data in this way. If you didn't, well then there is indeed a data protection issue. There is a mailing preference service if in general you don't to receive mail of that sort.
  • stephane_2
    stephane_2 Posts: 3,076 Forumite
    It could be that it has nothing to do with the AA but simply you have not opted out on the electoral roll.....
    It is not illegal...just a mail shot....nothing to make a fuss about. At the end of the day you can just chuck it in the bin and forget about it...
  • jimjames
    jimjames Posts: 17,676 Forumite
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Register with the Mailing Preference service and you should be able to stop most junk mail other than from companies you have a relationship with already.

    You can also register with Telephone preference service to stop unwanted sales calls too.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
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