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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

New Mobile Phone Directory

3rd August, 2009 at 13:19pm

You may have heard about a new directory service that offers companies a way of getting messages to people via their mobile phones. This isn't something the DMA or the Direct Marketing Commission are involved in, but as many people have contacted us, we wanted to provide this short summary and further details about how to complain or to remove your number from the mobile directory.

What is it?

A commercial service for companies wanting to send messages to people's mobile numbers – or for person-to-person directory enquiries.

Who runs the service?

The service is called 118800 – Connectivity is the operating company.

Is your mobile phone number published on the web?

No

How does the service operate? 

Our understanding is that the contact details are not released to the person requesting the number.   A company, or an individual, pays the directory service a fee (currently £1) to forward a message to the person saying that the company or individual wants to get in touch and asks whether they are prepared to have the call put through to them.   The operating company, Connectivity, have said that the directory is made up from databases of numbers which are freely available for purchase and in the public domain.

How do you get a number removed?

You can remove your mobile phone number from the online mobile phone directory service, here: http://www.118800.co.uk/ although soon after their launch the website had crashed. Alternatively, you can text the letter 'E' to 118800 from the mobile phone you want to be made ex-directory. 118800 will send you an SMS message confirming you've been taken off.   As this is not a service linked to the DMA we cannot confirm the reliability of the “unsubscribe”mechanism. 

How do I complain about the service?

The regulation of this service comes under OFCOM, the regulator for the communications industry. Comments and complaints can be registered here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain/

DMC position

 ·        Direct  marketing by calls or texts to mobile numbers is already subject to legislation enforced by the Information Commissioner, and to industry rules in the Direct Marketing Association’s Code of Practice, which is enforced by the DM Commission.

 ·        The key principle at the heart of our approach to all forms of direct marketing whether by mail, text or calls, is that people should have control over how they receive marketing material and, in particular, that they should always have the right to opt-out if they so wish, and that that option should be easily available.