Writing in next month’s edition of the Journal of Consumer Research, Lisa Bolton, Joel Cohen and Paul Bloom claim that the existence of remedial packages encourage consumers to adopt risky borrowing patterns.
Most worryingly of all, the study claims that the group most likely to respond to the remedies include those most at danger of falling into the trap of uncontrollable unsecured debt.
“Ironically, remedy messages boomerang on the people they are intended to help the most,” the study explains.
It concludes that its findings constitute “a serious problem for individuals and at a societal level”.
The study found that its findings about debt remedies were equally applicable to other marketing sectors, pointing to the existence of products helping smokers end their habit as an example of artificially lowered risk perception.
Britain’s debt culture, which claims around 70,000 bankruptcies in England and Wales each year, has helped the UK’s total debt grow to a total of £1.1 trillion.