Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission

Fulcio Marketing (Rodgerson Black) – complaints about direct marketing

2nd May, 2019 at 11:10am

This investigation centred on five complaints received against Fulcio Marketing, a Business to Business direct marketing company.  The complainants raised alleged failures to supply data in conformity with orders; misleading actions in supplying education sector data that proved to be sourced by a Freedom of Information request; claims for repeat annual payments for data that was not seen to be sold on that basis; a failure to respect previous requests not to be contacted and a failure to meet a subject access request.

The DMC had identified a number of themes that recurred.  These related to the absence of contracts and supply agreements and the absence of any documented mechanic for resolving disputes. There were unsubstantiated responses (to both complainants and the DMC), and little to no evidence to the DMC of due diligence done by Fulcio in relation to the data sourced and supplied. There was no evidence to demonstrate processes that could adequately ensure contract fulfilment. Most complaints also made reference to poor customer service and unprofessional conduct.

Online and in marketing correspondence the company made repeated and pointed reference to its DMA membership and the assurance this should give in terms of the quality of data provided. In correspondence the company made reference to supplying data to the ‘corporate level standard of the DMA’.  No such standard exists. A review found the Fulcio website also lacked essential links, including to its terms and conditions and privacy policy. This situation was unchanged during the course of the investigation.

The DMC was concerned over the failure generally of Fulcio to respond fully and in a timely manner to questions raised during the investigation. It was concerned also over the extent to which the company seemed to pursue and secure business based on the promotion of its credentials as a DMA member.  In finding Fulcio in breach of a number of Code provisions the DMC reached the conclusion that its failures could be thought to bring the DMA into disrepute.

Having reached decisions on the Code rules breached (see below) and taken a view on the seriousness or harm, the DMC proceeded to consider the most appropriate sanction or action. It examined the extent to which the trends of concern had existed over a more extensive period of time. It found issues around data accuracy, customer service and the absence of evidence of robust processes was evident in a further eleven previous complaints made against the business over the last four years. Generally these complaints had been treated under informal case procedures and resolved based on undertakings to comply.

The DMC reached the view that Fulcio Marketing was not committed to complying with the DMA Code and its principles and would recommend that the DMA remove it from membership of the Association.

1.2 Members must operate and maintain an in-house suppression file – listing the names and contact details of consumers who have indicated they do not wish to receive commercial communications via all or particular means of communication.

3.1 Members must follow all legislation relating to the processing of data, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

4.1 Members must act decently, fairly and reasonably, fulfilling their contractual obligations at all times.

4.2 Members must ensure they do nothing that could bring into disrepute the public image of one-to-one marketing or the DMA.

4.6 Members must maintain adequate records to demonstrate compliance with the code – and must maintain an adequate system of monitoring and audit.

4.8 Members must at all times give prompt, efficient and courteous service to customers – and must ensure they have in place adequate administrative procedures and resources to achieve this.

4.9 Members must accept the jurisdiction of the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC) and co-operate fully with their investigations or enquiries.