Delete as appropriate: Dodgy loan companies on the TV/in the papers.

I thought you’d find the duality I need to display in different media interesting. When being interviewed about how to get out of debt, if there’s a short space of time, I usually keep the answer to three short bullets.

  • Cut the interest rate. As then more of your repayments go towards paying off the actual debts (e.g. Best Balance Transfers)
  • Pay off as much as you can. As otherwise your debts are trapped in for longer, costing you more (e.g. Danger: Minimum Repayments)

Then I explain that if you can’t meet your minimum repayments then you’re in debt crisis and you urgently need to get non-profit debt counselling help from the CCCS, CAB or National Debtline (see Problem Debt Help for details).

As part of this, I always say “avoid the hideous commercial debt management companies, those that advertise…..

And here it gets interesting, as if I’m on the TV, especially commercial TV channels like ITV, Channel 4 or Five, then I say “in the newspapers, desperately trying to sucker in your debts” and if I’m talking to a paper I say “on the TV that you’ll see trying to make serious cash from you when you’re already in crisis.”

There are a few reasons for doing this. On the TV there are strict rules about talking about the advertisers on programmes, and sadly those same debt ads are often in the breaks on some of the programmes I do. I suppose if I were a true purist I’d refuse to do the programmes; yet by doing what I do, I get the message across, and if I didn’t then the debt nasties would have a monopoly on the info.

With newspapers, I’ve even less control, and quite simply if you say something they don’t want to put in, they simply don’t print it; thus there’s a certain real politique to phrasing it this way.

I’ve rarely failed to do it, however there was one programme (that’ll remain nameless) I did it a good while ago where I said something like, “the nasty debt companies you’ll see in adverts, who only want to sucker your money” where the producer swiftly said in my earpiece something akin to, “who’re paying our bloody wages, and there are rules, so shut up”. I don’t react particularly well to being told to shut up, so I didn’t; yet since then I’ve learned that being clever with the phrasing makes life a lot easier and still gets the same message across.

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