Geordie Shore's Chloe Ferry and other reality stars paid to post Instagram ads targeting debt-stricken youngsters

REALITY stars have been rapped over dodgy Instagram posts targeting debt-stricken youngsters.

Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry, 25, Helen Briggs, also 25, from Ex on the Beach, and Towie’s Myles Barnett, 27, were paid to post ads to millions of followers offering to cut debt by up to 85 per cent.

The stars were likely to have made thousands of pounds from posts promising to cut debt by as much as 85 per cent.

But the ads have been banned by watchdogs who ruled they were misleading and not clearly labelled.

They would have seen followers take the drastic step of signing up for an alternative to bankruptcy — with potentially damaging long-term financial implications.

One debt counsellor said: said: “Given the nature of reality television and social media, the vast majority of the people who would have seen these ads are in their mid-teens to mid-20s.

“They are exactly the kind of people who suffered the most in the last year when cafés, pubs and nightclubs had to close.

“So this is a cynical attempt to make money from those who have got the least and who need the most help. It’s a disgrace.”

A company called Ashteck Media, which trades as Debt Slayers, paid the three stars to post the Instagram ads in December and January.

The post on Towie star Myles Barnett’s account said: “One of my friends just got 81 per cent of his debt wiped off. I know it’s weird times at the moment and everyone’s finances have taken a hit. So swipe up, and you can wipe off a big, big chunk of your debt.”

Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry’s post went one better, telling her 3.7 million Instagram followers: “This is a new fully regulated scheme that can help you write off 85% of the debt.”

However, Debt Slayers did not arrange any form of help — it simply passed on details to another company.

That business would arrange an Individual Voluntary Agreement, an alternative to going bankrupt.

The debt counsellor added: “The ads made it look as if an IVA is a simple, hassle-free process which could be entered into really easily and the debt effectively vanishes.

“That isn’t the case at all. If people take this step it can have long-term implications. I went bankrupt myself and am now unable to apply for certain jobs and can’t get a mortgage.

“If people have serious money worries they can go to an organisation or charity which doesn’t charge.

“Any firm that makes money out of giving advice on how to navigate your way out of debt should be avoided at all costs.”

Social media stars make a fortune from paid-for posts.

Help with creditors can end bills pain

By Lorraine Charlton, Citizens Advice Debt Expert

THE coronavirus pandemic has had a huge effect on millions of people’s finances and many will be behind on essential payments.

Your local Citizens Advice office can offer free and independent support to help you get back on your feet.

For anyone in debt, the first step is to work out how much you owe.

Rent or mortgage arrears, energy bills and council tax are your priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay.

Talk to these priority ­creditors and try to agree a repayment plan.

Work out how much you can pay. Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts.

You might have to contact priority creditors quickly in urgent situations, such as if you are about to be evicted.

Tell them that you’re seeking debt advice and ask if they can give you time to find a way forward.

If you have any money left after monthly bills and priority debts, but not enough to make full payments on non-priority debts, contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.

If you’ve got little or no money spare for priority debts Citizens Advice may be able to get you a 60-day breathing space. This will give you time to sort out a plan or find a debt solution.

In March last year it was reported that Ferry, 25, had made her first £1million — partly from charging up to £3,000 for an Insta post.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld three complaints about the debt ads.

It found that they exaggerated the ease with which debts could be reduced, were not easily recognised as ads and failed to make clear the risks associated with an IVA.

It said: “We understood that Debt Slayers had dictated the contents of the posts and that the influencers had been remunerated for making the posts.

“However, there was nothing in the posts, such as “#ad” displayed clearly, that made clear to consumers they were ads.”

The watchdog banned the ads from appearing in that form again. It also ordered Ashteck and the stars to ensure that future ads were “obviously identifiable as marketing communications”.

Ashteck said it had stopped using social media influencers for promotions.

Ex on the Beach star Briggs’ agent told the ASA her future marketing communications would be properly labelled.

Barnett and Ferry’s agent said they would not work with debt management companies again.

The Sun says

DESPITE usually having a minimal amount of talent, today’s reality TV stars have the power to influence millions of fans online.

How disgusting that some should choose to abuse that power by taking cash to peddle risky financial solutions.

That’s what Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry, Towie’s Myles Barnett and Ex On The Beach’s Helen Briggs did when they plugged debt write-off firms to their 4.6million social media followers.

They touted it as a magical quick-fix, conveniently omitting to mention the potentially ruinous long-term consequences that could leave customers unable to get a mortgage or certain jobs.

Many of this grasping trio’s fans are young and impressionable.

They deserve better than to be sold down the river for a quick buck by the empty-headed preeners they look up to.

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