Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission | Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Digitonic – Complaint about direct marketing

August 2016

Please note that the Commission investigates complaints against DMA members involving breaches of the DMA Code. Any adjudication is based solely on compliance with the DMA Code and it does not, and cannot make comment on the lawfulness or not of the members’ actions.

This case centred on the supply of data of over 2 million consumer records to be used for an SMS marketing campaign.  The texts sent promoted an opportunity to place bets with a gambling company.  The complainant had received two unwanted text messages to this effect over the Xmas period.  The complainant was certain that he had not consented to receive the messages and had uncovered a lengthy supply chain over which his data was passed and which involved three DMA members. The messages the complainant received were mis-matched to an incorrect Christian name.

In considering cases where there is some form of value chain and where the member is using suppliers for a service to provide opted-in data to an explicit channel and sector, the Commission looks for assurance that sufficient due diligence is undertaken to show that supplier arrangements are compliant.  Given the high volume of records required for this order, the ‘sensitive’ nature of gambling and the requirements for the provision of clearly opted-in data, each member in the supply chain had a responsibility to undertake adequate controls and checks.

Digitonic were contracted by the gambling company to undertake the text marketing campaign on its behalf, and had sourced data from Verso Group. Digitonic had received paperwork indicating that the data would be supplied from Verso’s own telephone survey, which was opted-in to texts from the gambling sector. It later transpired that Verso did not provide data from its own telephone survey, and the data supplied was incorrectly formatted with the result that some texts were sent mis-matching mobile numbers with incorrect Christian names.

The Commission concluded that Digitonic had processes in place of a good standard, that were transparent and that demonstrated an intent to comply.


The Commission did not find Digitonic in breach of the DMA Code, but asked Digitonic to look at whether sampling or other tests should be used to underpin their documented processes to validate the data they procure.  The Commission was reassured that this was an area to which consideration is being given.