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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Reactiv Media – complaints about direct marketing

18th April, 2012

These complaints related to concerns from two individuals.  In one case, a TPS registered individual had received an unwanted call from a legal company in relation to a personal injury claim. In a second case, an individual had received an incorrectly addressed and unwanted email regarding PPI loans to an address which he claimed had never been used before.  These two complaints, and previously informally resolved complaints, resulted in a formal investigation by the Commission into the company’s processes in relation to the buying and selling of data.

In both situations Reactiv Media had acted as an intermediate supplier of data; buying from data providers and supplying organisations who then marketed direct to the public.

Reactiv Media accepted that, as per the DMA Code of Practice, they are normally responsible for any action taken on their behalf by their direct marketing suppliers.  They accepted, however, that they had not undertaken the appropriate due diligence in these cases to ensure the data was accurate, up to date and that there were measures in place governing the onward sale and use of that data. In one case the Commissioners concluded that the company were unable to provide sufficient evidence as to the origin of their data to show that the consumer who had received an unwanted email regarding PPI loans, had not been ‘spammed’.

The Commissioners saw a particular risk of consumer vulnerability given the nature of data involved and concluded that Reactiv Media could not in these cases have been confident it was in a position fully to meet it responsibilities under the Code.

The Commissioners upheld a breach of clause 3.19 in the Direct Marketing Code of Practice which asks that in all their dealings with consumers and other businesses, members must act decently, fairly and reasonably, fulfilling their contractual obligations at all times.   They upheld a breach of clause 14.6 of the Code which asks that unsolicited marketing emails are not sent to individuals without consent.

The Commissioners welcomed Reactiv Media’s co-operation, the advice on steps already taken to address concerns and recognition of the need for changes in processes and procedures and thinking for the company to be confident of the data they trade and of compliance with the DMA Code. On this basis the Commissioners thought it appropriate and adequate at this time formally to remind Reactiv Media of their obligations under the DMA Code of Practice.