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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

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News

Understanding the Data Journey 21st July, 2015

A data journey is the path travelled by a consumer’s data throughout its use. We think that visualising the data journey allows us to see how data has moved from one step to another and we can signpost different clauses or possible breaches at each step identifying problems.  Please see here for an explanation of this process and an example of a case that we investigated.

George Kidd, Chief Commissioner said: “There is a need in this day and age to look beyond the behaviour of one party that is complained about and understand the whole process. With food it might be how produce gets from the field to the plate. In our case, it is a data journey. Only by understanding how someone’s data is obtained, what they understand of that and then how the data is added to, bundled and sold on, can we understand why and when we get calls, e-mails and other marketing messages from unexpected sources.”

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How companies can improve their email unsubscribe process 4th January, 2012

Healthy direct marketing depends on our willingness to respect the public’s preferences. If we do not want to find ourselves in an opt-in world the opt-out approach has to work and work well. Hanging on to those who have decided not to stay engaged – and who have said so is not about being resolute but about being irresponsible. We believe it should be as easy to unsubscribe from an e-mail relationship as it was to subscribe in the first place.

We have summarised our expectations of the industry we support through regulation saying they should be responsible, respectful and reliable.  When it comes to e-mail marketing this means ensuring unsubscribe links are easy to find, simple to use and without technical barriers, and fast and effective in stopping the unwanted messages. Responding in this way to consumer wishes is to meet the fair and reasonable standard in the DMA Code of Practice.

We recognise there are situations where people may want to stop e-mails to a particular address rather than opt-out totally from information and offers they value. Markets are totally in their rights testing this and dealing with situations as seems fit. This is not the same as seeking to hang on to prospects that have said clearly that they want to stop receiving e-mails. (George Kidd, DMC Chief Commissioner)

Eight ways to improve your email unsubscribe process (by Guy Hanson, Return Path)

1. Make sure that the unsubscribe link works
A broken unsubscribe process is an instant guarantee for upping the red mist quotient. It also contravenes email marketing law. Make sure that this forms part of the testing process for each and every campaign that you send out.

2. Make the unsubscribe link highly visible
It’s no good burying it in the email footer in a 6 point font in the hope that your disengaged subscribers won’t see it. People want to see it, and if they can’t, they are going to hit their spam complaint button instead. Put the unsubscribe link in the email header instead. This may sound counter-intuitive, but my personal experience is that if the opt out mechanism is more visible spam complaints reduce materially as a direct consequence.

3. Don’t set up your unsubscribe link as an image
The recipient that wants to unsubscribe has typically got to a point where they are disengaged with your email programme. That means that they are not that likely to be enabling the images that have been disabled by default. They are therefore not that likely to find the unsubscribe link, if it has been set up as an image! Make it a text-based link, so that it will always be seen.

4. Don’t assume disengagement – ask the question
In fairness, there is also a flip-side to the disengagement coin. It may be that the reason that I am going through the process is simply that I have a new email address. I don’t necessarily want to leave the programme, but I do want to stop it sending emails to my old address. Make this easy for me by asking the question – “Are you unsubscribing because you have a new email address? If so, would you like to tell us what it is so that you can continue receiving our great offers?”

5. Make the unsubscribe process simple
However, don’t try to cover all the bases and then end up with a process that is unnecessarily difficult to use. I don’t want to have to go and update my preferences. I definitely don’t want to have to log in to an account that I have in all likelihood forgotten the login details for. In fact, in the US Can-Spam specifically legislates against requiring a user name and password to unsubscribe, so it becomes a matter of law – not just best practice. If the process is going to be that hard, then it’s going to be much simpler for me to junk you instead. Rather make the unsubscribe process as simple as possible – ideally one click should do the trick.

6. Action the unsubscribe immediately
Once I’ve actually hit the button, don’t go and sour the mood by telling me that it may take up to 28 days for my request to be actioned. Most email broadcasting platforms are capable of applying an unsubscribe request in real time, and there’s certainly no excuse for not being able to achieve this within 24 hours. Consumers know this – if they are still receiving emails seven days later from a programme that they’ve already unsubscribed from, they’re going to resort to the nuclear option instead!

7. Pre-empt unsubscribe problems
It is also a good idea to explain to your subscribers that there may be valid reasons to explain why unsubscribing from the email won’t work.
For example, that you originally registered using a different address, but which your exchange server is still auto-forwarding to you. Or that the registration was made using a generic email address (“sales@”, “info@”, etc) for which you form part of a distribution list.

8. Avoid follow-up emails
Finally, I’ve seen several programmes which have sent a follow-up email to confirm the unsubscribe request. Some might argue that this is a nice CRM touch.

However, to me it smells more like an attempt to second-guess the subscriber – along the lines of “we know that you’ve told us that you want to leave our email programme, but we’re sure that you didn’t really mean it!” While confirmation emails are generally regarded as a good thing in email marketing, I’d argue that this case represents a valid exception to the rule!

 

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Emails outside the EU 16th June, 2010

Receiving unwanted emails from a company outside the European Union is a common problem for people in the UK, but regrettably one that is outside the jurisdiction of the Direct Marketing Commission as we can only focus on companies in the UK who create these types of communication.  When people trade with UK companies they have the protection of UK law and the self-regulatory frameworks our industry imposes.  However, if people take part in discussions with companies who are based abroad then different rules apply.

Across Europe there are similar types of laws and self regulatory groups in each country, so if the company you notified us was in Europe but outside the UK we would refer you to the right organisation. 

Here are some tips on how you can safeguard your data:

  •  Consider who you give your email address to, and the permissions that you give to be contacted.
  •  Remember that there is little protection when you buy or trade with companies outside the EU.
  •  Here in the UK, companies who are members of the DMA also agree to an additional industry Code of Practice that goes beyond the minimal legal requirements – look out for the DMA member's logo on their website and in their sales literature as a way of knowing you have the additional guarantee.
  •  When you are on the internet, remember to be streetwise about the organisations you interact with.  If you do encounter problems with UK based companies then there is a great deal of consumer protection in place.  You can use our website to see which organisations are the right ones to contact, and we will be pleased to help with issues related to direct mail, personal telephone calls, emails and other forms of direct marketing communication.
  •  Find out more about how we can help on our complaints page on this site.

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CC me? Think again.. 3rd March, 2010

The Direct Marketing Commission is always at the forefront of hearing what’s happening in the industry, good and bad.

One of the downsides of being ‘in the know’ is that whenever friends have a bad experience HP0-Y32 on the web, they tend to get in touch so when we leave the office … we don’t leave the office.

Direct marketing is growing at a huge rate because it can, and a lot of the output we see extols the power and potential of talking direct to consumers. But not all of those ‘potential customers’ either like or understand what they’re seeing and hearing.

One example. In the last few months we’ve seen small firms jumping on the email bandwagon who are making one terrible and consistent mistake.

Let me introduce you to the ‘open cc’ email.

This is the rather unexpected and unpleasant way to have your own email address publically shared with a few hundred strangers, all under the guise of a promotional mailing from a brand that, at least until a few moments ago, you probably trusted.

Sound familiar? I hope not, but it may be. And it’s becoming increasingly familiar as more and more small businesses unleash their managers onto the internet to practice what they think is digital marketing. Make no mistake: there’s nothing that turns customers against brands faster than abuses of personal data.

The managers of SMEs need to wake up to the importance of customer data, treating HP0-Y37 it with the respect and privacy it deserves. If permission is granted by consumers to use their data then it’s granted for a specific use. If permission has been given for something to be shared then that’s fine too.

But if ill -trained marketers are merrily spamming their customers in some misguided notion that this will boost sales, then they need to understand they’re putting their customers and careers in danger.

Having the tools to be a direct marketer doesn’t make you one.

Email is an intimate and precious channel. Use it wisely and respect the permissions of those who invited you to contact them.

Ask first.

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Behavioural Advertising 28th January, 2010

What is Behavioural Advertising?

Online behavioural advertising (also known as interest-based advertising) is a way of serving advertisements on the websites you visit and making them more relevant to you and your interests. Shared interests are grouped together based upon previous web browsing activity and web users are then served advertising which matches their shared interests. In this way, advertising can be made as relevant and useful as possible.

How Does it Work?

Imagine you are planning a holiday to Rome. You visit a website’s section on Rome and view a few articles about places to stay and visit. On a future visit online, while reading an article about your favourite football team, you see an advertisement for a 2-for-1 dinner in Rome or an offer for discounted car hire in Rome. You receive these specially tailored adverts because you, and other people like you, have shown an interest in Rome. This can enhance your web experience by making the most of the technology only available on the internet – helping reduce the number of ads that aren’t of interest to you.

Please see www.youronlinechoices.co.uk/what-is-behavioural-advertising for further information.

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Direct Mail 23rd September, 2009

Are you receiving unaddressed mail?

Unwanted mail

Have you been receiving unwanted marketing mail?
Have you been receiving unwanted junk mail?

Do you want to stop receiving junk mail?
Do you want to stop receiving marketing mail?
Are you unable to unsubscribe from marketing mail?
Are you unable to unsubscribe from junk mail?

If you are receiving unwanted marketing mail (sometimes called ‘junk mail’) you can contact the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) and register not to receive marketing mail in future. Your details will then be added to the MPS list.

If you are receiving mail addressed to a person who no longer lives at your address you can also register that person as ‘no longer at this address’ and mailings should cease.

If you are receiving unsolicited marketing mail from a DMA member company, and you have already asked them to stop and they have not complied with your wishes, then contact the DMC  using our online complaints form.  We would need you to provide a full copy of the mailing in question including the envelope. The envelope is important as it often has a code on it which helps the mailer identify the source of your name and address. You can send this to The Direct Marketing Commission, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street,London W1W 8SS.  If your mailing is not from a DMA member then you could contact the Advertising Standards Authority or the Information Commissioners Office.  

Unaddressed mail

Have you been receiving unaddressed mail to your home?
Do you want to stop receiving unaddressed mail?
Are you still receiving unaddressed mail after registering with the Royal Mail Opt-Out Service?

If you want to stop receiving this type of mail you can contact the company in question and request that they stop sending you the mail.  Alternatively, you can contact the DMA's Your Choice Scheme as those companies that are members of the DMA agree to abide by the expressed wishes of householders who do not wish to receive unaddressed material through their letterbox.  For details on how householders can exercise Your Choice and ask distribution companies to stop the delivery of unaddressed mail to their homes, please contact the DMA by letter, fax, telephone or e-mail and ask for details of the Your Choice Preference Service for Unaddressed Mail.

You can also register free of charge with the Royal Mail opt out service.

It is important to realise, however, that this opt out service only relates to unaddressed mail. Royal Mail is still legally obliged to deliver all addressed mail, which includes mail that is addressed “To the Occupier” (or with any other generic recipient information), as well as mail that is personally addressed to a consumer by name. Consumers should also note that it is not possible for Royal Mail to separate material you don’t want from material that you do want, such as advertising offers or leaflets from Central and Local Government and other public bodies.

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Poor Customer Service 23rd September, 2009

Are you having a problem making contact with the company?

Are you have a problem with a delivery?

Are you not receiving a refund?

Do you have issues with goods that you have not received?

Making Contact

Is a company not replying to your emails?
Is a company not replying to your letters?
Is a company not returning your calls?
Is a company not answering your calls?
Have you experienced rude customer service on the phone?
Has a company kept you on hold for an unreasonable length of time?
Have you been given unhelpful or contradictory advice by a customer services agent?
Are you unable to get through to a company on the phone?

Everyone is entitled to receive prompt, efficient and courteous customer service at all times whether that be on the phone, via email or post. Companies have a duty to ensure that there are adequate administrative processes in place so that their customers can contact them easily and that they can deal with any enquiries promptly – normally within five days.

If you have been marketed directly and then experienced poor customer service such as rudeness, not having your calls, letters or emails returned or answered, being given unhelpful or contradictory advice or being kept waiting on the phone for long periods of time, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form .

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to issues such as order fulfilment or use of data that are covered under their Advertising Codes or you can contact Consumer Direct for further advice.

Delivery

Has an item you’ve ordered online not been delivered?
Has an item you’ve ordered in a catalogue not been delivered?
Has an item you’ve ordered over the phone not been delivered?
Has an item you’ve ordered via the red button not been delivered?
Has an item you’ve ordered by mail-order not been delivered?
Have you had to wait an unreasonable time for an item you’ve ordered online to be delivered?
Have you had to wait an unreasonable time for an item you’ve ordered from a catalogue to be delivered?
Have you had to wait an unreasonable time for an item you’ve ordered via the red button to be delivered?
Have you had to wait an unreasonable time for an item you’ve ordered via mail-order to be delivered?
Have you had to wait an unreasonable time for an item you’ve ordered on the phone to be delivered?
Have you wanted to cancel a delayed order for something ordered online but not been given the option?
Have you wanted to cancel a delayed order for something ordered from a catalogue but not been given the option?

If you have been marketed directly and experienced any problems with the delivery of products that you have ordered, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to issues such as order fulfilment or use of data that are covered under their Advertising Codes or you can contact Consumer Direct for further advice.

 

Refunds

Have you been unable to claim a money back guarantee?
Have you been refused a refund for goods ordered?
Have you been refused a refund for faulty or damaged goods?
Do you think you are entitled to a refund for goods ordered online?
Do you think you are entitled to a refund for goods ordered via the red button?
Do you think you are entitled to a refund for goods ordered on the phone?
Do you think you are entitled to a refund for goods ordered in a catalogue?
Do you think you are entitled to a refund for goods ordered via mail-order?

If you have not received goods that you have ordered and a substitute has not been provided, you are entitled to a full refund of all money you may have paid in advance.

You are also entitled to a refund if the company has given an unconditional money-back guarantee  and you have returned the goods within a reasonable period.

If you are forced to return goods to a company because they are damaged or faulty when you receive them, the company has an obligation to cover the cost of postage and packaging. If you have returned goods to a company but they say that they have not received them, provided you can provide proof of posting, you are still entitled to a full refund.

If you feel that you are entitled to a refund and are experiencing any problems with a particular company, and you have been marketed directly, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form .

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to issues such as order fulfilment or use of data that are covered under their Advertising Codes or you can contact Consumer Direct for further advice.

 

Goods Not Ordered

Have you been sent goods that you did not order?
Have you been asked to pay for goods that you didn’t order?
Have you received unsolicited goods?
Have you unwittingly ordered goods from a company?

Have you received goods from a company even though you haven’t ordered them? Sometimes consumers may receive goods from a company and are asked to make a payment even though they haven’t knowingly asked for them. These are called unsolicited goods.

It is against the law to send goods to your address and demand payment without first having received an instruction to do so.

It is sometimes the case that people have unwittingly ordered goods because they don’t fully understand the terms of obligation when they join mail order or online schemes. It is therefore very important to read the small print and to be careful about which agreements you are signing up to when you tick a box on a website.

If you have been marketed directly and think that you received unsolicited goods, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to issues such as order fulfilment or use of data that are covered under their Advertising Codes or you can contact Consumer Direct for further advice.

More info: essaylab.org

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Telemarketing 23rd September, 2009

Have you been receiving silent calls?

Have you been receiving unwanted marketing calls?

Silent calls

Have you been receiving silent calls?
Have you answered calls and found no one at the end of the line?
Do you want to stop silent calls?

What are silent calls?

Do you HP2-B103 sometimes pick up the phone and hear silence? These so called ‘silent calls’ can be the result of companies using technology to make marketing calls to potential customers.

The automated system is sometimes set to work too quickly so that when the person HP2-B112 answers the phone, there is nobody there to speak to you and the line goes dead. This can be both frustrating and instrusive. A system can also use AMD (Answer Machine Detect) technology which can sometimes decide that a call has been answered by an answer machine when in fact it is answered by a person.

If the call is abandoned as a result of either of the two above reasons, companies are obliged to play a brief recorded message within two seconds of the call being answered. The message must contain the identity of the company and details of a no charge number that the recipient can contact to decline further calls.

 

If you have been having problems with silent calls from DMA members, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

You could, in addition, contact the Office of Communications  (OFCOM).

Unwanted Marketing Calls

Have you been receiving unwanted marketing calls?
Have you been receiving unwanted sales calls?
Do you want to stop receiving marketing calls?
Do you want to stop receiving sales calls?

Have you been receiving calls for someone who doesn’t live at your address?
Do you want to stop marketing calls for someone who doesn’t live at your address?
Are you receiving unwanted telemarketing calls from companies who are trying to sell you something which you do not want to purchase?

If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls, you can contact the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and register not to receive sales or marketing calls. Your details will then be added to the TPS list which makes it illegal for a company to call you for marketing services in the future.  Registration is free and once you are registered you should stop receiving calls after 28 days.

If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to record your preference not to receive sales or marketing calls. Your details will then be added to the TPS list which makes it unlawful for a company to call you for marketing purposes in the future. The TPS offers a complaint handling service: enforcement is undertaken by the Information Commissioners Office.

If you have additional concerns about the DMA member in question (for example, complaints about their customer service) then you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

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How to Unsubscribe 23rd September, 2009

How to Unsubscribe

Are you receiving unwanted marketing emails?

Are you unable to unsubscribe from marketing emails?

Are you receiving unwanted marketing text messages?

Are you unable to unsubscribe from marketing texts?

Email

Have you been receiving unwanted marketing emails?
Have you been receiving unwanted sales emails?

Do you want to stop receiving marketing emails?
Do you want to stop receiving sales emails?
Are you unable to unsubscribe from marketing emails?
Are you unable to unsubscribe from sales emails?
Are you still receiving marketing emails after unsubscribing?
Are you still receiving sales emails after unsubscribing?

Organisations in the UK and throughout the European Union are only allowed to send you unsolicited email marketing or text you if you have originally given them permission to do so or if you have been a recent customer.  By law, companies must 9A0-090 always give you the option to opt out of receiving unwanted emails.  Companies are obliged to provide a working unsubscribe mechanism, such as a return email address to which you can send unsubscribe requests.

If you are receiving emails from a DMA member without your consent, you are unable to unsubscribe, or you think that your contact details may have been passed on by a third party without your consent, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

You may, in addition, if the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to specific areas that are covered by their Advertising Codes or the Information Commissioners Office.

 

Data

Are you receiving emails from companies without your consent?
Are you receiving text messages from companies without your consent?
Are you unable to unsubscribe from a text message service?
Do you think your personal data may have been wrongfully passed on to companies?
Do you think your personal data may have been passed on without your consent?

Organisations in the UK and throughout the European Union are only allowed to send you unsolicited email marketing or text you if you have originally given them permission to do so or if you have been a recent customer.  You are entitled to withdraw your permission at any point and every commercial email or text should by law offer you the opportunity to ‘unsubscribe’.

If you are receiving emails from companies without your consent, or think that your contact details may have been passed on by a third party without your consent, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

If you are receiving emails from a DMA member without your consent, you are unable to unsubscribe, or you think that your contact details may have been passed on by a third party without your consent, you can complain to the DMC using our online complaints form.

You may, in addition, if the company you are complaining about is not a member of the DMA, complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if the matter relates to specific areas that are covered by their Advertising Codes or the Information Commissioners Office.

 

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