Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission | Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

News

News

Information Commissioner warns political parties over data privacy 8th March, 2010

(Marketing Week 4 March 2010)

Political parties could face fines and lost votes if they do not follow data privacy rules when planning direct and digital marketing campaigns in the run up to the general election, according to the information commissioner.

Speaking at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual data protection conference today (4 March), information commissioner Christopher Graham (pictured) says political parties that breach the rules will not only damage their reputation but could be penalised financially.

Graham, a former director general of the Advertising Standards Authority, adds the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be issuing political parties and candidates guidance on the rules governing direct marketing channels such as direct mail, SMS text, emails, telemarketing and automated phone calls.

“I strongly urge the parties to adhere to the ICO guidance especially as their collective track record to date has been disappointing.

“We have taken enforcement action to uphold the law in the past and, with stronger powers available to me in just a matter of weeks, I intend to make sure that everybody stays in line,” he says.

Political parties are subject to the same data privacy rules and punitive sanctions as the marketing industry when using direct marketing to promote their parties to voters.

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Parties have and will be using direct marketing extensively, particularly in marginal constituencies, in the run up to the May poll.

Graham’s warnings follow a recent ICO ruling against the Labour Party for breaching rules on unsolicited telephone calls. Labour was ordered to stop making automated direct marketing calls without consent after almost half a million recorded messages from Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn were left encouraging people to vote.

The ICO has also taken action against the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP for invading people’s privacy in the past.

Responding to Graham’s comments, Robert Keitch, chief of membership and brand at the DMA, says political parties should learn from those companies that have received negative media coverage, lost customers and damaged their brands as a result of data privacy breaches.

“Political parties can expect the same treatment if they fail to respect data privacy rules when they promote themselves to voters through direct marketing,” he says.

click for more information

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.

click for more information

Government consultation paper on penalties for silent calls 9th February, 2010

The Government has sought views on its plans to raise the current maximum penalty for silent and abandoned calls from the current limit of £ 50,000 to £ 250,000, £500,000, £1 million or £2 million. The consultation paper follows commitments in the Digital Britain Report and the Consumer White Paper to increase the penalties for organisations making excessive silent calls.
Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain, said: “We want to send a clear message to those companies that are persistently abusing these automated calling systems that this will not be tolerated and there is a price to pay.”

Ofcom chairman, Colette Bowe, commented: “Ofcom needs stronger powers to take action against companies causing consumer harm and we welcome Government’s proposals to increase the maximum financial penalty.”

The consultation closed on 25 January and we are now awaiting the Government's response.

click for more information

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.

click for more information

DMC Quarterly Newsletter 20th January, 2010

Foreword from the Chairman Matti Alderson:

Matti Alderson

Happy New Year and welcome to the Direct Marketing Commission’s first email newsletter for 2010.

Once again, we have seen a significant level of compliance in the industry during the last quarter. Just under half of all the complaints received by our Directorate have been made against organisations that are not members of the DMA, but we continue to find that most companies are willing to respond to us, take remedial action and are ultimately prepared to ensure that professional standards
doudoune canada goose are observed across the industry.

During the coming year, we will be working to consolidate the progress we have made since the Commission’s inception in 2008 to increase our profile among consumers and the industry in general. Our website will be developed further so that we can engage in the important issues affecting direct marketing regulation. We have a wealth of experience among the board of Commissioners which will be invaluable in working alongside other relevant organisations and the Direct Marketing Association to ensure that our remit, particularly within the sector of digital technology, is fully understood, supported and clear to both consumers and industry members.

Industry News

Government intervenes to prevent unsolicited light bulbs

The Government has intervened to ban unsolicited mail-outs of millions of low energy light bulbs from utility providers. The ban was imposed because of concerns that the mailouts were wasteful and that homes were not necessarily using all the bulbs being sent. Utility providers had instigated the mailings as part of a campaign to meet targets under a household energy-cutting scheme. The gas and electricity regulator Ofgem said it had expressed concern with npower about the practice of unsolicited mail-shots. canada goose solde

OFT and SOCA warn against false lotteries

The OFT and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) are warning the public to be on their guard against a new Jamaican-based lottery scam which has already seen some UK residents lose thousands of pounds. Fraudulent telemarketers based in Jamaica are making unsolicited phone calls to consumers telling them they have won a sum of up to £2.5 million in a lottery or sweepstake. The fraudsters often pretend to be lawyers, bank officials, customs officers or lottery representatives to try and convince consumers that their prize is genuine. However, to ‘release’ their winnings, victims are told they must send money to pay for taxes, processing fees, insurance or customs duties. Victims receive repeated calls for further money, and in some cases have suffered threats of violence, arrest and removal to Jamaica if they do not pay up.

Counterfeit websites shut down by Met

The Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) announced in December that it had taken down 1,219 websites purporting to sell designer goods. The websites claimed to sell items ranging from Ugg boots and Tiffany & Co jewellery to GHD hair straighteners. Police said the fact the sites had “.co.uk” web addresses meant innocent British shoppers were duped into making what appeared to be bargain purchases, but they received either counterfeit products or nothing at all.

Law passed on Consent for Cookies

The European Parliament has passed a package of reforms to the Telecoms Directive which includes requiring consumers to consent to the use of cookies. The UK government plans to consult on implementation into UK law during late spring and summer 2010 and the new legislation will come into effect in the UK around June 2011.

The issue of how consumers can consent is being hotly debated with conflicting opinions on whether this means consumers having to opt-in for the use of cookies to be legal. The DMC will continue to monitor this.

IC calls for jail time to stop trade in unlawful personal information

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has called for custodial sentences for breaches of s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. s55 creates a criminal offence in respect of the unlawful trade in personal information. His call follows news that the Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating a mobile telephone company and a credit reference agency, where in both cases personal information was acquired illegally.

Companies are reminded that they should ensure that staff are properly trained and that appropriate IT security policies are in place to prevent unauthorised access to personal information.

Complaints trends

Complaints Data

Of the complaints received by the DMC in 2009, 59 per cent were against DMA members.

The company sector that received most complaints was Home Shopping with 36 per cent of the total. The next most commonly complained about group of companies were those from the financial sector (9%).

The industry practice most frequently subject to complaint was ‘account issues’ (19%).The second most common area of complaint (11%) fell under the heading of unwanted mailings. Similarly, 10 per cent of complaints related to issues of ‘unwanted emails’ that were unsolicited or did not give the option to ‘unsubscribe’.

Interview: Revd. Canon Professor Martyn Percy

Martyn Percy

Your background is quite unusual in that you began your career working as a publisher and academic. What was your motivation to move to work in self-regulation?

To be honest it comes from a general interest in public life. I had previously worked as a panel assessor for an adoption agency and from an early stage in my career I realised that I enjoyed working in ethically complex areas. Although they may sound removed, my academic work actually led directly to a role in self-regulation. Before I joined the ASA, I had been researching the prevalence of religious images in secular advertising and at that point the ASA had been receiving a run of complaints on the secular appropriation of religious images. My familiarity with the topic and background academic work led directly to my subsequent appointment as a director.

Although its critics note that it is exploitable and is weaker that some forms of top down, publicly funded systems, when it works well self-regulation can engage and encourage industries to take responsibility in a way that no other model can.

As an independent member of the DMC Board, you do not work in the Direct Marketing industry. How important is it to have independent Commissioners at the DMC and what different perspectives can they bring?

Competent self-regulators will always choose a broad range of people to adjudicate on standards. In many cases the public are actually surprised at the diversity of directors’ experience. You never want to be in a situation where a directorate is only comprised of people or are ‘tapped up’ from the industry they are supposed to be regulating. Self-regulation needs to be publicly accountable and, as such, needs to involve people from many different aspects of public life. From a personal perspective, as I said earlier, I see my experience and interest in more complex ethical areas and standards as key to my role. My responsibility is to help make sense of these areas on behalf of others.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that DM and self-regulation will face in 2010 and what would your advice be to the industry?

In its early years, DM largely involved a simple process of printing thousands of leaflets and getting them through doors. Naturally, technology has changed all of that but with its many advantages have also come challenges. Technology has the effect of closing up areas that have hitherto been neighbours. If you take the analogy of a terraced street where each house represents a different marketing discipline, technology is removing all the dividing walls and marketers can now walk effortlessly between each one. With this comes a problem of ownership and accountability. From the consumer’s perspective, ‘who do I complain to?’ and from the industry perspective, ‘whose problem is it?’

The challenge we face in 2010 is clarity of expertise over the territory that we’re immediately responsible for. All self-regulating bodies and industries need to work constructively and collaboratively to ensure that standards are maintained and consumers are well served.

Complaints case study:

Email Marketing Email Marketing

The Commission received a complaint from a consumer who had tried, unsuccessfully, to unsubscribe from marketing emails over ten times. He had clicked on the unsubscribe link in the email and it took him to a page to unsubscribe. He had then typed in his email address and then it told him his email address would be removed. However, he continued to receive the emails every week.

The company stated that there had been an error linking back to the suppression list. This had been resolved and tested to ensure it worked. Following investigation, the DMC discovered that 160k users had been affected by the error, but that the company in question had now changed their process of testing and would be using a completely new system, which has added checks included before any bulletins are sent live. They had not received further complaints possibly due to the fact they always give alternative ways to contact them should one method fail. They are now offering better security, controls and checks to prevent these issues recurring. The consumer was fully unsubscribed.

The DMC reminded the company of their obligations in relation to the Direct Marketing Code of Practice which requires direct marketers to operate and maintain an in-house suppression file; where a recipient asks not to receive commercial communications they must suppress that recipient’s data from the marketing database as soon as possible.

click for more information

DMC Quarterly Newsletter 10th November, 2009

Foreword from the Chairman Matti Alderson:

MattiWelcome to the Direct Marketing Commission’s third email newsletter. Having now completed our latest quarterly complaints index, we can see that there continues to be a high level of compliance in the industry.  Through our strict enforcement of the Code, we have found that there are few occasions where we are required to apply serious sanctions because most companies are willing to take expedient remedial action when we contact them and are prepared to work with us to keep improving professional standards of direct marketing.

Throughout the rest of 2009 and into the new year the DMC will be working to increase its profile further by encouraging consumers to contact us for help and advice, investigating complaints and examining and investigating new issues that face the direct marketing business. Watch our website: it tackles key questions every month to reflect debate within the direct marketing industry and to report what we hear from consumers about their prime concerns, aided by the wealth of expertise that we have in our Board of Commissioners and the willingness of the industry’s support through the Direct Marketing Association.

Industry News

Phone Scams

BT has warned customers that they should be on their guard against phone scams involving people claiming to be calling from the company.
The scammers warn customers that they are in arrears and then ask for card or bank details to settle the account. If the customer refuses or asks for proof, the scammers offer to establish their credentials by disconnecting the phone line, which they are able to do by suspending the call.
Once the customer puts the phone down, the scammer stays connected to their line, which gives the impression that it no longer works. Evidence has shown this type of scam has been happening all over the country.

At the DMC, we would advise consumers to never give out any banking details over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with, and customers who have suffered a scam like this should contact OFCOM or Consumer Direct.

Debt management firms could face regulation

The Government has launched a consultation to determine whether to regulate the UK’s 150 debt management companies who charge a fee to negotiate with lenders on behalf of borrowers. The companies in question set up debt management plans designed to reduce monthly repayments for borrowers, but these can prove expensive in the long-term when fees are added to the repayments. A recent review of the sector by debt charity Money Advice Trust concluded that the advice given by these companies was mixed and that the Office of Fair Trading should require them to be clear in their promotions about the cost of their services they offer.

Complaints trends

Email Newsletter Q3 gRAPHOf the complaints received by the DMC between April and June 2009, 66 per cent of these were against DMA members and the remaining 34 per cent against non-members of the DMA.

The company sector that received most complaints was Home Shopping with 47 per cent of the total.

The industry practice most frequently subject to complaint was ‘unwanted mail’ (18%).

The second most common area of complaint (9%) fell under the heading of ‘unwanted emails’.

Interview: Michelle Peters, Commissioner

Michelle PetersYour career is quite interesting in that you began working as a solicitor in marketing law and intellectual property litigation and became a member of the Direct Marketing Authority seven years later. What was your motivation to go from working with litigation, to then work on self-regulation?
Marketing is such a fast moving and constantly developing area that I firmly believe a self-regulatory system is the best way to protect both the public and the industry. Crucially, we have a system run by those who have a real interest in protecting both of those (often conflicting) interests and who are “in the thick of it” and therefore able to see the issues, and react to them, long before the legislators ever could. My personal motivation to join the DM Authority (now the DMC) was to take on the challenge of having to decide the outcome of complaints, rather than just arguing my client’s case – which has been a challenge indeed with some of the cases we have seen!

What do you think is the biggest issue facing direct marketing today compared to the issues facing the industry seven years ago?
The massive growth in online marketing and new digital channels is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing direct marketing today. With new marketing channels like Facebook and Twitter, and new ways of monitoring consumers’ activities online, like Phorm, the direct marketing landscape is constantly evolving. This is a challenge for everyone who comes into contact with direct marketing, whether as a business which uses direct marketing, a consumer, or a regulator. For businesses, it can be difficult to know which rules apply to these new channels or how they should be interpreted. For consumers, the challenge is being able to make informed decisions about what kind of businesses they are prepared to do business with online. For the regulators, including the DMC, there is a constant need to assess whether, as these new channels develop, the existing rules will sufficiently protect both the public and the industry, and to anticipate where consumer harm might arise and therefore take steps to prevent it before that happens.

The media landscape has changed phenomenally in the past couple of years. Do you think this has worked for or against the consumer and how should organisations adapt?

The changing media landscape has brought many new opportunities for consumers, from new ways of buying and selling goods (e.g. via Ebay), to new ways of communicating with friends and family or being part of an online community. But there are potential disadvantages too, particularly for those consumers who are unaware of the risks of sharing too much information when they go online. Making sure consumers can give informed consent about what happens to their personal information is vital if the public is to retain trust in the direct marketing industry.   Businesses in the direct marketing industry have a key role here: they must be transparent about their activities and act quickly to resolve any complaints which may arise.  Organisations like the DMC also have a role to play in educating consumers about new threats and, where appropriate, investigating and resolving complaints.

Complaints case study:

Online Shopping
Online ShoppingThe Commission received a complaint from a consumer who had placed an order for a carpet cleaner and bonus wash. She received the carpet cleaner but not the bonus wash that was included in the item code.  She had phoned customer services on several occasions but each time was told a note would be left on their system and she was asked to call again in a few days.  When she rang she spoke to a different person who said nothing had been done to resolve her query and for her to call again in another few days.  She called at least 7-8 times, and when she was promised a call back this did not happen. She had a print out of the item which clearly stated the product code and what was included in the order.

The company admitted there was fault on behalf of their customer service team.  Also, their website incorrectly advised that a bonus pack was with the item ordered.  They spoke to their buyer and web-team to ensure this was removed.  The notes logged by the agents did not list the bottles as being included with the product, hence the confusion.  They apologised and confirmed any re-training would be conducted accordingly.

They provided a refund to cover phone calls and also sent the bonus pack as agreed. The DMC reminded the company of their obligations under the Direct Marketing Code of Practice to provide a prompt, efficient and courteous customer service, and have in place, adequate administrative procedures to achieve this. They were also reminded that online commercial communications must be clear and truthful and that companies must make every effort to provide the goods or services as ordered by the customer.

click for more information

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.

click for more information

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

click for more information

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.

click for more information

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.

 

click for more information

Phone Scams 22nd September, 2009

BT has warned customers that they should be on their guard after phone scams involving HP2-E58 people who claim to be calling from the company.

The scammers are calling up customers and warning them that their account is in arrears and then asking for card or bank details in order to settle the account. If the customer refuses or asks for proof, the scammers offer to prove who they are by disconnecting the phone line immediately.

Once the customer puts the phone down, the scammer stays connected to their HP2-K28 line, which gives the impression that it no longer works. Evidence has shown this type of scam has been happening all over the country.

At the DMC, we would advise consumers not to give out any banking details over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with.

If you have suffered a scam like this, then you should contact OFCOM or Consumer Direct.

click for more information

DMC Quarterly Newsletter 25th June, 2009

Foreword from the Chairman Matti Alderson:

“Welcome to the second newsletter from the Direct Marketing Commission. We’ve now finished our second quarterly complaints index and continue to see a sustained high level of compliance in the industry. Our index for the first quarter of 2009 yielded interesting findings. Notably, the biggest rise in complaints was made against database companies increasing from 6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year to 9 per cent this quarter.

click for more information

DMC Quarterly Newsletter 30th April, 2009

Foreword from the Chairman Matti Alderson:
“Welcome to the first newsletter from the Direct Marketing Commission. Since we launched in September last year we have been extremely encouraged by the very high levels of compliance exhibited by the industry.
The emergence of a global recession has meant slashed marketing budgets and has put pressure on everyone involved in the industry, which could have led to a loosening of standards. However, in spite of this, our statistics have shown that the majority of companies are keen to provide a high quality of service to their customers.

click for more information

DMC figures show sustained compliance levels in Direct Marketing but complaints about mail and database companies on the rise 16th February, 2009

28th April 2009:  The Direct Marketing Commission (DMC), an independent self-regulatory body for the UK direct marketing industry, today announces the results of its 2009 Q1 Quarterly Complaints Index, the report and analysis of complaints it received between December 2008 and March 2009. The index shows a continued trend for high industry compliance with self-regulatory rules but also reveals a rise in the number complaints made about direct mail and against database companies.

click for more information

DMC figures show exceptional compliance levels 22nd January, 2009

DMC figures show exceptional compliance levels in Direct Marketing

89 per cent of DM complaints resolved informally

 

28th January 2009:  The Direct Marketing Commission (DMC), the self-regulatory body for the UK direct marketing industry, today announces the results of its first Quarterly Complaints Index, the report and analysis of complaints it received between September and December 2008. The index reveals an exceptionally high industry willingness for compliance with self-regulatory rules in the last quarter of 2008.

click for more information

Direct Marketing Commission launched to enforce high standards in the direct marketing industry. 4th September, 2008

The Direct Marketing Commission, launched on 1st September 2008, is the body which oversees the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)’s Code of Practice.  It provides effective protection to recipients, users and practitioners of direct marketing in those areas not already covered by other co/self regulatory bodies, such as the ASA.

click for more information

Newer Entries »