Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission

Make A Complaint

Make A Complaint

How to complain and who to complain to…

The marketing and media industries have specialist bodies that are responsible for regulation and self regulation in different areas.  This page can help you find the right organisation to talk to, so before you make a complaint, check whether your issue is the responsibility of a different group.  We also have a useful links section on this website which may be helpful.

If we are the right people to complain to then simply complete our online complaints form and look at our complaint process here.  If you are unable to complete the form just ring 020 7291 3350.  Remember that there are some steps that you should take first. You should make a formal complaint to the company concerned to explain your dissatisfaction and seek to reach a resolution to your problem. If you feel that your complaint has not been adequately resolved it can then be brought to our attention. Complaints should be notified to the DMC no more than three months after the date they were taken up with the company. There is no cost to you when you make a complaint.  However, you should note that the DMC is unable to become involved in matters of financial compensation – this lies outside its remit.

Please ensure you take care in completing the Complaints Form so that we get the right information we need to deal with your complaint and minimise delays.

Here’s a simple overview of areas which may be covered by other organisations….


The Non-broadcast and Broadcast Advertising Codes cover advertisements across media, sales promotions and direct marketing communications. The Codes are policed by the Advertising Standards Authority which has a well established mechanism for investigating complaints. If your concern is about the content of advertising you have seen (including marketing on websites), then the ASA is your first port of call.  There are other areas that also fall under the CAP/BCAP Codes.  If you are in doubt then please contact us or the ASA.

Direct mail

You can record your preference not to receive unwanted marketing and advertising mail to your home on the Mailing Preference Service (MPS).  Although this is not a legal requirement, registering on MPS will stop about 95% of unwanted direct mail.  Many people who register have suffered a bereavement and they just want to stop future commercial mailings from being sent to the deceased.

Emails and texts

Organisations in the UK and throughout the European Union are only allowed to email or text you if you have given them permission to do so, or if you have purchased goods and services from them in the past.  You can always withdraw your permission, and every commercial email or text should by law offer you the opportunity to ‘unsubscribe’.  For spam email or texts contact the Information Commissioner’s office.  If you are receiving unwanted marketing you can complain to us if the company in question is a member of the DMA (visit for a list of members).

Organisations are required by law to ensure the personal information they hold about you is accurate, up-to-date and kept securely.  You can find out what information is held about you by asking it to provide you with a copy of all the personal information about you.  This is known as a Subject Access Request.


The Fax Preference Service (FPS) is a central opt-out register where businesses can register their choice not to receive unsolicited sales & marketing faxes. Individuals may also register on FPS.  It is against the law to send a fax to an individual unless they have given their permission.

Financial Services

The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for 59,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK and the prudential regulator for over 18,000 of those firms.

Fraudulent or criminal activity

If you are concerned that a company is acting fraudulently or criminally, you can contact your local police or local trading standards office.
Trading Standards or you can contact

Newspapers and magazines

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is the independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK. We hold newspapers and magazines to account for their actions, protect individual rights, uphold high standards of journalism and help to maintain freedom of expression for the press.

Phone bills/pre-pay accounts

The Phone-paid Services Authority is the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to your phone bill.  It acts in the interests of consumers.

Phone-paid services are the goods and services that can be bought by charging the cost to the phone bill or pre-pay account. They include charity donations by text, music streaming, broadcast competitions, directory enquiries, voting on TV talent shows and in-app purchases. In law, phone-paid services are referred to as premium rate services (PRS).

Scam mailings

If you receive a mailing which you think is a scam, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service.  It provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit Citizens Advice website or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 (Welsh language service: 08454 04 05 05).

Silent calls

Silent calls are generated by automatic dialling equipment which dial more numbers than there are operators available to take the calls.  These types of calls are annoying and irritating and they can cause worry and anxiety.  If you are receiving silent calls you can complain to us if the company in question is a member of the DMA (visit for a list of members) or you can contact OFCOM and complain online.

Telephone calls

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the central opt-out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales & marketing telephone calls to your home or mobile telephone. It is against the law to telephone someone registered on the TPS unless they have given permission. If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls the contact the Telephone Preference Service.

Telephone calls to businesses

The Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) is the central opt out register where corporate subscribers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls to either all their organisation’s telephone numbers, or to certain numbers.  It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the CTPS.

Unaddressed mail

You can exercise ‘your choice’ and ask distribution companies, who are members of the DMA, to stop delivering unaddressed mail to your home.

You can stop receiving unaddressed mail delivered by Royal Mail to your home – see the Royal Mail website. However, 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. Election material is not delivered by the Door to Door service and is therefore not affected by this opt-out.  Royal Mail only delivers about 25% of the total volume of unaddressed mail items in the UK.