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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Minutes – 24th February 2015

Minutes – 24th February 2015

MINUTES

 of the

DIRECT MARKETING COMMISSION

on

Tuesday 24th February 2015

at

DMA, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS

 

Present:                                

George Kidd, Chief Commissioner

David Coupe, Industry Commissioner

Martyn Percy, Independent Commissioner

Rosaleen Hubbard, Independent Commissioner

Dr Simon Davey, Independent Commissioner

In Attendance:

Suzi Higman, Secretary, DMC

Mike Lordan, Chief of Operations, DMA (in–part)

John Mitchison, DMA (in-part)

 

1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES       

Danny Meadows-Klue had given apologies for absence.

2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 27th November 2014

The Commissioners had confirmed that the Minutes were an accurate account of their last meeting.  These had now been published on-line.

3.  MATTERS ARISING

 The last meeting had examined the serious issue of ‘cloning and spoofing’ telephone numbers which was leading to complaints being made against companies who were not actually making the calls but appeared to do so.  ML and JM explained the technical difficulties around stopping this practice.

At the last meeting, following concerns about a member’s business model and relationships with affiliates, GK had tested the strength of clause 4.3 in the Code which asks that members normally take responsibility for suppliers and others.  It had been agreed that the Secretariat would liaise with the DMA to ask the relevant Council their view on the Code clause in question and whether they considered it to cover responsibility for affiliates.  This had been undertaken but there had been no responses. The Commissioners agreed that they would consider the clause to cover affiliate responsibility but GK would clarify this at a DMA Board meeting later that week.

Action Point – GK to raise issue of clause 4.3 and member responsibility for affiliates at DMA Board meeting.

ML reported on recent DMA activities.  He informed Commissioners about new pension regulations coming in to force in April, which he thought could lead to a rise in complaints about nuisance calls and a rise in scams.  DC questioned what the regulators are doing. ML said he had met with the FCA to discuss.  The DMA was planning to publish guidance on the DMA website.  ML suggested this guidance could also be published on the DMC website.

ML and GK had met with the Better Regulation Executive (BIS – Business Innovation Skills) to discuss the DMA Code and other alternatives to regulation.  GK pointed out that there could be an opportunity for the Direct Marketing Foundation to support work to test the possible value for all sides in enhanced self or co-regulation.

ML reported that it was budget time at the DMA and was due to have an annual meeting with ASBOF who partly fund DMC.  He did not foresee any problems.

4.  CHIEF COMMISSIONER’S REPORT  

GK wholeheartedly thanked Martyn Percy, who was retiring from the Commission at the end of March, for his contribution over the last few years.  This would be his final meeting. Dr Simon Davey, replacement independent Commissioner was welcomed and introduced to the Commission.

5.  COMPLAINTS UNDER THE DMA COD E

 Breakdown of complaints: December 2014/January 2015

SH had circulated reports for complaints in each of these months.  Seven complaints had been received against one particular member which had been the subject of a previous adjudication last year.  The complaints related to unwanted calls, to, in the main, TPS registrants.  Complainants had also been concerned around the persistence of the calls.  It was agreed that the investigation would continue informally at this stage, but that a meeting would be held with the member company to address concerns and gather further information.   Possible concerns to be raised would be first circulated to Commissioners to ensure the relevant issues had been captured prior to the meeting.  RH noted that a non-member company which had been mentioned in a response to one of the complaints had recently been the subject of an OFCOM fine for persistent misuse.

Action Point – SH to set up meeting with member and to circulate proposed queries capturing concerns raised.

Confidentiality agreements/fair behavior

SH reported on a recent complaint from a hospice owner who had ordered data from a DMA member company.  There had been problems with the data and he was struggling to reach a resolution with the member company. The Secretariat did not have full details of the concerns raised but the complainant had asked whether the member could hide behind a confidentiality clause in their terms to avoid a complaint being made to the DMC.  The Secretariat had taken advice from the DMA legal team who had said that all DMA members agree that the DMC can investigate complaints against them as part of being a DMA member.  The complainant had been informed that the member should not hide behind a confidentiality clause to avoid complaints being made against them.  However, the complainant subsequently agreed an out of court settlement which more than covered their costs and as part of the agreement they told the Secretariat that they could not divulge the name of the member or any information to the DMC.  SH suggested that a message should be sent to the DMA membership informing them that they should not, as part of their membership, resort to hiding behind terms to avoid a complaint being made.  Commissioners agreed that this message should come from the DMA.

Action Point – SH to inform DMA about this concern and propose a message to membership.

6. LATEST ADJUDICATIONS

SH updated Commissioners on latest actions taken following a formal investigation into a member who had been the subject of a substantial fine from the ICO following calls made to TPS registrants about PPI claims.  The outcome of the Commissioner’s discussions had now been made public on the DMC website.

7. CODE RULE ON ‘DISREPUTE’

At a recent Commission meeting where a case against a DMA member was discussed, the subject of the ‘disrepute’ clause in the new DMA code was raised and RH had offered to produce a short guidance note covering the agreed criteria for deciding whether or not a member was in breach of this clause.

Action Point – RH to produce guidance note on ‘disrepute’.

8. ICO- DATA SHARING

Following a previous meeting with the ICO to discuss how data may be shared between the two organisations, GK and SH presented a draft flow-chart showing the possible process that could be followed when requiring information from the ICO. GK agreed to raise this at the DMA Board meeting later in the week to garner views, particularly on the importance of the DMC having a right and responsibility as a self-regulator to continue with an investigation in circumstances where the ICO might or might not choose to act and where timing is a worry.Action Point – GK to raise ICO data-sharing process with DMA Board.

9. FUTURE FOUNDATION REPORT

The Direct Marketing Foundation had commissioned research into complaints about one-to-one marketing.  GK had drafted a blog which would link to the report and be published on the DMA website.  This was shared with Commissioners.

10. GENERAL MATTERS

DMA activities

ML had reported on latest activities at the DMA at an earlier point in the meeting

Governance, Preference Services & Compliance Report

JM presented the latest Governance, Preference Services & Compliance Report which had been circulated to Commissioners.  JM also reported that there was a rise in new applications for DMA membership from companies in the data and lead generation sectors.

11. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

There was no other business.

12. Future meeting dates 2015 – 10.30am at the DMA offices

Thursday 21 May

Tuesday 15 September

Tuesday 24 November