Retailers to sign up to tighter rules on store cards
Shoppers will no longer be offered discounts and free gifts to entice them to sign up for store cards when a range of new measures designed to help shoppers manage their debts are introduced in March 2012.
The British Retail Consortium has worked with the government and the Finance and Leasing Association on a new voluntary code which will result in retailers no longer being able to offer store card customers special discounts or promotions for the first seven days after taking out one of the cards.
The measures also include a ban on offering retail staff commission for promoting the cards and retailers will need to provide standardised training for all staff selling the cards to customers.
The Government has welcomed the package with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban saying: "The public told us that consumers can be tempted into taking out a store card by being offered a discount at the till. We've listened to these concerns and have worked with industry to develop a strong package of measures in response."
British Retail Consortium director general, Stephen Robertson, said: "Introducing a week-long separation between taking out a store card and receiving discounts is a common sense compromise which will give people enhanced consumer protection with access to the benefits those cards provide."
There are currently 13 million store card accounts in the UK according to figures from the FLA with each card being used an average of three times a year.
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