Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission

About Us

About Us

The Data & Marketing Commission (DMC) is the body which oversees and enforces the DMA Code.  The Code and DMC are here to give effective protection to recipients, users and practitioners of the data driven marketing sector. We aim to ensure companies observe the highest standards of integrity and trade fairly with their customers and with each other, and we do this by investigating complaints against members of the DMA, and scrutinising data driven marketing issues and practices.

The DMC investigates and adjudicates on reported breaches of the Code by DMA members.   If the complaint is not covered by the Code, it will be referred to another relevant organisation.

The DMC can also pass comment and recommendation to the DMA regarding particular aspects of the Code and the promotion of compliance.

The DMC may consult consumer, enforcement and advisory services to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of the Code, as well as to help identify emerging consumer issues.

The DMC also acts as an expert panel to provide advice to the CAP Executive, the ASA Executive and the ASA Council in cases where “legitimate interests” has been put forward as a basis for processing personal data for the purpose of producing and/or distributing a marketing communication, and related matters. The DMC operates under a publicly available memorandum of understanding with CAP. See

Anyone can complain to us free of charge and our adjudications on complaints are published on this website regularly here.

We aim to confirm receipt of all complaints within two working days and aim to achieve at least 65% satisfaction levels with the action taken by the DMC in relation to cases dealt with by formal or informal procedures.  We will inform every complainant of the action taken and/or the outcome of investigations. We also aim to complete 80% of formal adjudications and complete all other cases that fall within the remit of the Code within 3 months of the first dialogue with a DMA member, and all complaints will be registered and progressed within seven working days. 

We aim to have no cases reversed after action by the Independent Appeals Commissioner (IAC) and no successful legal challenges.  For those considering a complaint about the standard of service provided by the DMC, an Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA) is also available.  This covers the practical handling of a case – but not disagreements about its outcome. Before such a complaint can be made, the DMC must have had a reasonable opportunity to respond.

There is a separate service for appealing case rulings and sanctions.

We will make available key trend information on complaints as required.  Please see our latest annual report here – DMC Annual Report 2022-23

We also publish the minutes of our Board meetings.  These can be found here.


Using direct marketing to buy goods quickly and easily, or as a source of information, is now an everyday occurrence for millions of consumers, and it is to the credit of the data driven marketing industry that compliance with the DMA Code is exceptionally high.  Below, you’ll find a list of channels, though this will undoubtedly change as the market develops. As the industry matures and expands the DMC will tailor its work in response to changes in the DMA Code.

The regulation of the data driven marketing sector is complex. It is covered by legislation and co/self regulation, and responsibility for its application is spread among a number of Government Departments, their Agencies and co/self regulatory bodies. Our collective aim is to protect consumers and to ensure that the industry in its broadest sense trades fairly both internally and especially with consumers and customers.

Direct Mail: personally addressed mail posted direct to you

Emails: personal emails sent to you

SMS: texts sent to you

Telemarketing: calls from a company offering products or services

Leaflets, circulars and free publications: unaddressed communications and items delivered house to house by hand, including brochures, catalogues, local directories, money-off coupons and product samples (including items delivered with free local newspapers and unaddressed items delivered by Royal Mail)

Catalogue or ecommerce: A printed or electronic database of products and means of purchasing directed to you

Inserts: leaflets and catalogues inserted into paid for magazines, newspapers and supplements plus third party communications inserted within addressed communications such as statements and bills

Field Marketing/Demonstrations: people giving out samples or promoting a product or service in the street or in a shopping centre or other public place

Customer Magazines: written for customers offering advice and information on the company’s products and services (e.g. Sky, Sainsbury’s, the AA)

Television and Radio Advertising: that gives a contact number, website address or that invites some action such as ‘see in store for details’

Newspapers and Magazine Display Advertising: (NOT customer magazines or inserts, but contained in the body of the publication) that give a contact number, website address, or that invite you to ‘see in store for details’

Mobile Messaging: communications via your mobile phone inviting you to respond to a text message or use your mobile to respond to a communication received via another method

Interactive TV: using the red button on your TV to respond to or buy from advertisements or offers

Ambient/Place-based media: any invitation to participate in direct marketing ‘outside the home’ that appears on posters or inside/in close proximity to offices, stores, airports, educational and other activity centres.

Social media – this allows marketers to engage with large numbers of people with an immediacy and frequency that traditional media cannot provide