Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Data & Marketing Commission

Minutes 28th November 2012

Minutes 28th November 2012



 of the



 Wednesday 28th November 2012


DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS




George Kidd, Chief Commissioner, Danny Meadows-Klue, David Coupe, Martyn Percy, Michelle Peters

In Attendance:

Suzi Higman, Secretary, DMC, Mike Lordan, DMA Chief of Operations, Rosaleen Hubbard, New Independent Commissioner                                               

1.         WELCOME AND APOLOGIES        

John Mitchison, the new Head of Preference Services, Compliance and Legal was unable to attend.  George Kidd welcomed new Independent Commissioner, Rosaleen Hubbard, replacement to Michelle Peters.     


The Board had confirmed that the Minutes were an accurate account of their last meeting.  These had now been published on-line. 

The issue of crowd-sourcing was raised and DM-K was to circulate information to the Secretariat about how we can strengthen the complaints process through the use of supporting web information. 


 Any matters arising would be raised later in the meeting.


The issue of complaints and how the DMC can become more involved in dealing with/sharing complaints about DMA members with TPS and regulators such as ICO/MOJ had been discussed at the last meeting.  SH reported that the Secretariat was arranging a date for GK to meet with the MOJ.


Breakdown of complaints – September/October 2012

SH reported on the breakdown of complaints for the months of September and October, and, in particular, the case of one member company, on which the DMC had adjudicated last year, and for which a new complaint had been received which related to the lack of TPS screening.  It was agreed that DMA Compliance would be informed of the new complaint and asked to undertake a further Compliance audit.

DM-K noted one complaint against a non-DMA member company where the complainant had found it difficult to unsubscribe.  There should normally be a ‘simple means’ to unsubscribe as written in the Code and it was agreed that the Secretariat would write to the company concerned to inform them about the complaint and give further details of DMC and DMA membership.

DM-K noted a further complaint against a non-DMA member had related to the receipt of spam texts.  It was agreed that it would be helpful for consumers if the DMC website published information on spam texts and what consumers can do if they receive unwanted marketing of this type.

GK noted that the Secretariat were investigating a ‘provisional’ member of the DMA which had raised concerns about the company’s compliance in relation to TPS and passing of data to third parties.  SH reported that the investigation was ongoing, but that it may proceed to a formal complaint in due course, depending on the responses received.  It was agreed by the Commissioners that even though a company may only be in ‘provisional’ membership of the DMA, this should not preclude a formal investigation.

Finally, a complaint against a member in provisional membership of the DMA was discussed.  This had related to a business in receipt of unwanted emails and the provisional member involved was withdrawing its DMA application.  It had been noted also that the DMA Compliance department had ongoing concerns about the company.  When questioned about the source of the consumer’s data, the company had said they were a broker and could not reveal the exact source due to signed Non Disclosure Agreements.  Commissioners discussed this latter aspect because it was not seen as satisfactory for companies to hide behind their NDA’s and not show evidence that they were taking responsibility for their suppliers. 


SH to ask DMA Compliance to undertake an audit of member company

SH to post DMC website information on spam texts

GK to address NDAs in feedback to DMA Board/Executive

Member complaint

SH reported on complaints received over the last year against a member company which had related to suppression requests not actioned.  There had also been a complaint from a consumer who had received an unwanted call, though the company had said they did not make the call and their brand name was being misused.   The company had already written to the DMA about this issue.  DMA compliance reported on an ongoing audit by the MOJ which was part of a standard exercise to audit a number of companies in the UK.  One of the concerns raised had concerned the passing of data to third parties and third party consent from a TPS perspective.  It was agreed that the Secretariat would closely monitor any further complaints against this company.

Formal Case – Adjudication

A formal investigation had been undertaken by the Secretariat against a member of the List Warranty Register.  The complaint centered related to an order of data which was found to be unclean.  Commissioners held a conference call with the owner of the company and concluded breaches of the Code in relation to customer service, accurate and up to date data, and legal and honest commercial communications. Further discussion ensued about the LWR and proposed changes to the scheme.


ML updated the Commissioners on the actions and powers of current regulators in relation to direct marketing activity.  This discussion led to information that the Commissioners were given in relation to marketing activity and its regulation in general.  It was agreed that the DMA Legal and Compliance department would circulate legal update newsletters in future for the Commissioners’ information.


GK reported on the latest developments in relation to the DMA Code and will send out further papers in due course.

 ACTION POINT – GK to circulate papers on Future of DMA Code


–          DMC Terms of Reference

–          DMA Memorandum of Articles/re-wording

GK provided Commissioners with a new draft of the DMC Terms of Reference.  A few minor amendments were suggested and there were discussions around DMC’s independence.

ACTION POINT – GK to circulate re-drafted DMC Terms of Reference

9.       THINK TANK – Objectives

A ‘think tank’/away day meeting had been arranged for Thursday 21st February.  It had been agreed that the topic for discussion should be ‘Effectiveness of the DMC’ focusing on ‘unwanted communications’.  It was agreed GK/SH would circulate an agenda and set of goals and issues for the day.


SH had sent a copy, in soft-copy format, to Commissioners, DMA membership and relevant journalists.  It was also posted on the DMC website.


 Governance: Preference Services, Compliance & Accreditation Report

A Compliance and Accreditation report had been circulated to all Commissioners. 


 GK made a presentation and gave thanks to Michelle Peters who had reached the end of her tenure as an Independent Commissioner.

 13.    FUTURE DATES 2013

 DMC Board Meetings: 10.30am at the DMA offices

Thursday 21st February

Tuesday 14th May

Thursday 26th September

Tuesday 26th November

Think Tank Meeting: 2.00pm at the DMA offices

Thursday 21st February pm