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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

The UK Data Company – complaints about direct marketing

May 2013

Concerns had been raised by three businesses which related to email marketing.  One complaint related to an unwanted email and the difficulty of finding out the source of the data; a second complaint related to claims that email addresses had not been suppressed adequately;  and a third claim from a business related to the sale of email data for an email campaign which resulted in a very high hard bounce rate – a large number of wrong or closed e mail addresses.

The investigation highlighted a number of uncertainties over the source of data, the access to and management of data, and an admission that in one case data had knowingly been used when it had been held for over two years. Based on this admission and on the absence of reliable information about data sources the DMC came to the conclusion that the data in question in two of the cases was not up to date and could not be shown to be accurate. This conclusion was reached on a balance of probability basis. The DMC upheld clause 5.37 of the Code which asks that data is accurate and where necessary, kept up to date.

The level of uncertainties as to the data in terms of its origin and accuracy, and the lack of assurances to the DMC as to its quality and verification, led the DMC to conclude that the company did not have the arrangements in place to demonstrate it was acting fairly and reasonably and able to fulfil its contractual obligations. The DMC upheld clause 3.21 which asks that companies act decently, fairly and reasonably and fulfil their contractual obligations.  Code clauses which applied to a third complaint were not upheld as the DMC did not have sufficient written evidence.

The business concerned was not a member of the DMA but listed on the List Warranty Register and therefore bound by the regulations of the DMA’s Direct Marketing Code of Practice. The DMC has explained its findings and concerns to the List Warranty Register.