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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Top Five Complaints

Top Five Complaints

Poor customer service

What is it?

Poor customer service is a common complaint but what do we actually mean by the term? Customer service can be defined as any customer care activity that supports the delivery of a product or core service including the checking of delivery status, return and crediting of orders, customer advice and support.

Poor customer service experiences occur when these customer care activities do not meet the standards laid out in the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Direct Marketing Code of Practice . The Code sets standards of ethical conduct, best practice and behaviour in direct marketing.

Some examples of poor customer service experiences are:

  • Being unable to get through to a company on the telephone
  • Not having your phone calls returned by a company
  • Being kept waiting for an unreasonable period of time on the telephone
  • Rude or unhelpful customer service staff
  • Being given conflicting advice on the telephone
  • Being incorrectly subject to extra charges, for example extra costs for late payment

How you can complain?

If you have experienced unsatisfactory levels of customer service, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to issues such as order fulfilment or use of data that is covered under their Advertising Codes or you can contact Trading Standards for further advice.

 

Opting out from unwanted emails

What are they?

In the UK and EU, companies are allowed to email you only if you have given your permission or have been a recent customer.  Unwanted emails can be  inconvenient for the recipient, and at the DMC we receive complaints from consumers who are unable to ‘unsubscribe’ by being given an option not to receive any further emails. Under the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, which is the legislation concerning commercial email and text, you must be given an option to opt out of receiving unwanted emails.

Unwanted emails can be caused by various factors:

The company has sent you the email without your permission; the sender company might not give you the option to unsubscribe in the email so you continue to receive further emails from that company; the technology that allows you to unsubscribe may not be working properly

How you can complain?

If you have received unwanted emails, and you are unable to unsubscribe, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to specific areas that are covered by their Advertising Codes or you can contact the Information Commissioners Office.

If you have received a ‘scam’ email you may wish to contact the internet service provider (ISP) where the scam email originated from.  ISPs can close accounts that abuse their systems.

 

Silent calls

What are they?

Silent or abandoned calls are just that: you pick up the phone and hear nothing. They are at best frustrating and at worst worrying to consumers.

They happen because companies use automated dialling systems to telemarket potential customers, do market research or debt collection. If the automated system is set to work too quickly, when the person dialled answers the phone, there is no agent available and the line goes dead.

How you can complain?

If you have been receiving silent calls from DMA members, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

You can also contact the Office of Communications (OFCOM).

 

Unwanted marketing calls

What are they?

Consumers may receive telephone calls from companies who are trying to sell them something which they do not want to purchase. Some consumers find this intrusive.

How you can complain?

If you are receiving unwanted live marketing calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to record your preference not to receive sales or marketing calls. Your details will then be added to the TPS  list which makes it unlawful for a company to call you for marketing purposes in the future. The TPS offers a complaint handling service: enforcement is undertaken by the Information Commissioners Office.

If you have additional concerns about DMA member companies (for example, complaints about their customer service) then you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

 

Unsolicited goods

What are they?

Unsolicited goods are items that are sent to a consumer who has not ordered or asked for them. Sometimes consumers unwittingly order goods because they don’t fully understand the terms of obligation when they join mail order or online schemes.

How you can complain?

If you have been marketed directly by a DMA member and are then receiving unsolicited goods, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to specific areas that are covered by their Advertising Codes or you can take advice from Citizens Advice.