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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Minutes 30th November 2011

Minutes 30th November 2011

MINUTES

of the

DIRECT MARKETING COMMISSION

on
Wednesday 30th November 2011
at
DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS

 

Present:   

George Kidd   
David Coupe   
Martyn Percy  
Michelle Peters
Danny Meadows-Klue (in part – on conference call) 

In Attendance:

Richard Evans, Compliance & Legal Services Manager
Suzi Higman, DMC Secretariat

    
1.  WELCOME AND APOLOGIES 
 
Apologies were received from Mike Lordan, DMA Chief of Operations. Scott Logie, DMA Chairman was also unable to attend but hoped to be available for the next meeting.   Danny Meadows-Klue was unable to attend in person but would join the meeting on a conference call (this was in part).    

2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 26th SEPTEMBER 2011

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

3.  MATTERS ARISING/ANY OTHER BUSINESS

At the last meeting Michelle Peters had pointed out that the Secretariat could usefully refer appropriate complaints to The Financial Ombudsman (FOS), particularly where consumers had paid by credit card or by PayPal.   SH had now provided a link from the DMC website to this organisation.  Michelle Peters also pointed out that complaints from consumers who have paid by debit cards may also be referred to the FOS and in some circumstances awarded compensation.

GK asked if there were any developments following a recent meeting of the List & Insert Forum.  RE reported that the meeting had discussed the current List Warranty Register scheme and any future accreditation scheme with the goal of driving up standards in the list industry.  There was to be a further meeting in December to follow up on these discussions.

4. CHIEF COMMISSIONER REPORT

GK reported on his earlier conversation with Scott Logie, DMA Chairman during which he had discussed his paper on Testing the Strength of Self-Regulation, future DMC funding and the role of the DMA Governance Committee in relation to its terms of reference and the DMC’s accountability to the DMA.   RE explained the structure of the DMA Governance Committee to the Commissioners, and it was generally agreed that the DMC needed to be accountable to the DMA main Board.

5.  COMPLAINTS UNDER THE DMA CODE OF PRACTICE

a) Breakdown of complaints
SH reported on the breakdown of complaints for September and October this year.  Continuing complaints about a company which had been suspended from DMA membership were discussed and it was agreed that the Secretariat would continue to monitor these complaints on an informal basis.  GK noted a complaint against a non-DMA member company where consumers pay a fee for the company to market their product to potential buyers – the complainant had felt misled as promises where made which were not carried out.  GK asked whether this could be addressed by the DMA as an example of a business model which can cause consumer confusion.  SH pointed out two companies in the September and October complaints list where there was some confusion over their membership of the DMA.

b) Formal investigation –  DMA member
The two cases which related to this investigation were discussed.  Danny Meadows-Klue was present on conference call for this part of the meeting.  The complaints had led to concerns around the vulnerability of consumers, the methods and processed used to sell an additional product/service when taking an order which had led to confusion in terms of the agreement, and the resulting wish of consumers to cancel. The complaints were not upheld, but it was agreed that the company would be reminded of specific obligations under the Code relating to responsibility for suppliers and the vulnerability of consumers.

Action Point – SH to circulate draft adjudication letter to Commissioners.

6. TESTING STRENGTH IN SELF-REGULATION

GK reported that he had discussed this paper with Scott Logie, DMA Chairman following his letter to him highlighting and prioritising issues and making proposals for addressing these in partnership with the DMA. Commissioners were concerned that momentum should be maintained on this issue, meeting with the DMA early in January. Further discussions would follow.

7.  DIRECT MARKETING FOUNDATION

DC reported on the newly appointed Direct Marketing Foundation, a charitable organisation which will provide grants and funding for research, education and training thereby benefitting the industry and consumers.  A ‘soft-launch’ was to be arranged early next year.

Action Point:  Commissioners to consider potential funding opportunities for the DMC.

8. APPEALS PROCESS    

GK and SH reported on a recent meeting with John Bridgeman, RE and SH which had discussed the appeals process.  In particular, the meeting had focused on ‘natural justice’ and how the DMC can ensure its processes continue to be clear and transparent, fair and just.

9.     GENERAL MATTERS

a) DMA Activities
RE updated the Commissioners on current DMA activities.

b) Governance,: Preference Services, Compliance & Accreditation Report
A Compliance and Accreditation report had been circulated.

10. FUTURE DATES

Xmas Lunch – Monday 19th December

Future meetings 2012:

Thursday 9th February
Thursday 17th May
Thursday 4th October
Wednesday 28th November

All 10.30am at the DMA offices