NAD Recommends J.G. Wentworth Company Modify its “Cash Now” Claims to Clearly and Conspicuously Disclose Material Information about Timing of Payment

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – April 8, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommends that the J.G. Wentworth Company modify its advertising to disclose clearly and conspicuously that its offer of “cash now,” in exchange for purchase of the customer’s structured settlement and any related annuity payment rights, is not immediate, but requires a court approval process that takes, on average, seven weeks to complete. Further, NAD recommended that where there is an implied message that a customer’s receipt of the lump sum is immediate, the advertiser should modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose material information about the timing of receipt of cash.

The claims at issue, which appeared in television and internet advertising, were challenged as part of NAD’s routine monitoring program, and included:

  • “I have a structured settlement and I need cash now. Call J.G. Wentworth.”
  • “I have an annuity but I need cash now. Call J.G. Wentworth.”
  • “Do you get regular payments from an insurance company, for example, from a personal injury settlement or a car accident? .... In exchange for some or all of your future payments, we give you a lump sum of cash now.”

 

J.G. Wentworth has been in the business of purchasing structured settlement payment rights since 1995. Structured settlements are often used in the settlement of a personal injury lawsuit. Rather than a lump sum payment at the conclusion of a lawsuit, the payment is usually made on a regular basis over a period of years. Consumers with a qualifying structured settlement can enter into a contract with J.G. Wentworth, which then hires an attorney in the state where the customer resides and prepares a petition to file with the local court to approve the transfer of the customer’s structured settlement and any related annuity payment rights.


This process takes approximately seven weeks. Once the court approves the petition, the consumer will usually receive their payment within two business days. J.G. Wentworth often gives customers a cash advance ahead of any court approval. J.G. Wentworth also purchases private annuity payments that do not require court approval but have other restrictions.

NAD determined that, in the context of the challenged advertising, one message reasonably conveyed by the advertiser’s “cash now” claims with respect to a structured settlement and any related annuity payment is that receipt of cash is immediate. NAD noted that consumers are not clearly informed that they receive the lump sum of cash only after a court approval process. Therefore, NAD recommended that J.G. Wentworth’s advertising disclose the information that consumers need to evaluate the offer of “cash now” in the context of their existing structured settlement and related annuity payment plans, specifically that “cash now” is not immediate but requires a process that takes, on average, seven weeks to complete. In addition, where the implied message is conveyed that receipt of the lump sum is immediate, the advertiser should modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose material information about the delay in receiving cash.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision prevents the advertiser from making visual references to their services, provided that disclosures communicating its limitations are sufficiently easy to notice, read and understand (i.e., appearing when the triggering claim is made).

In its advertiser statement, J.G. Wentworth stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations. As 25 years of experience without a single complaint on payment timing attests, customers understand what J.G. Wentworth’s iconic tag line means when it refers to ‘cash now.’ Nevertheless, J.G. Wentworth is pleased to participate in the self-regulatory process and will take NAD’s recommendations into account in its future advertising.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

###

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.    

Latest News

Press Release

BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Launches Expedited Fast-Track SWIFT Lane Designed to Address Misleading Advertising Disclosures

New York, NY – November 9, 2021 – Mindful of recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actions, BBB National Programs today announced a new, streamlined lane of the expedited Fast-Track SWIFT challenge submission process, one designed specifically to address the prominence and sufficiency of...

Read the Release
Press Release

Media Advisory: FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter to Keynote National Advertising Division “Future of Ad Law” 2021 Annual Conference

New York, NY – September 21, 2021 – In its 50th anniversary year, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs will host the NAD 2021 Annual Conference virtually next week, running Wednesday, September 29 through Friday, October 1. Members of the media are invited to cover NAD 2021 with...

Read More
Press Release

Children’s Advertising Review Unit Issues Revised Guidelines for Responsible Advertising to Children, Effective January 1, 2022

McLean, VA – July 29, 2021 – BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) today announced the issuance of the revised CARU Advertising Guidelines, widely recognized industry standards to assure that advertising directed to children is not deceptive, unfair, or inappropriate for its intended...

Read the Press Release
Press Release

U.S.-Based BBB National Programs Announced as Winner for “Best Sectoral Initiative” by International Council of Advertising Self-Regulation

On 15 June 2021, the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (ICAS) announced the winners of its second edition of the ICAS Global Awards. The objective of the ICAS Awards is to reward initiatives that contribute to responsible marketing practices and a more effective and impactful...

Read the Press Release