The DMC website uses cookies to help enhance your experience and improve functionality on our website.

By continuing to use our website you are agreeing to the use of these cookies. Cookies terms and conditions can be found here.

Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Complaints about data and privacy still dominate 2018

14th February, 2019 at 16:02pm

Data, privacy and quality of data continue to lead consumer complaints,
according to the latest DM Commission report

Issues around data, privacy and its accuracy are the biggest concerns for consumers in 2018, according to the DM Commission’s Annual Report. In a year that saw the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force, the DM Commission reported a marked reduction in complaints to the Commission against businesses in the direct marketing sector – from over 200 in 2017 to just over 100 this year.

The Commission investigated 27 cases involving members of the DMA in 2018. Of these, 83% related to data, privacy and quality (up from 69% last year), with the remaining complaints split between customer service (14%) and contractual (3%) issues. The Commission referred 76 complaints against non-member organisations to other relevant statutory or self-regulatory bodies, but also reached out to the businesses involved to inform them of the complaints, remind them of their legal and regulatory duties and ask them to address the consumers’ concerns.

Over the course of the year, the Commission Board decided it was necessary to conduct formal investigations into two businesses, finding one in breach of the DMA Code. Both of these cases were looked at against  the DMA Code and the guidance in place at the time of the incidents reported, so prior to the onset of GDPR in May.

George Kidd, Chief Commissioner of the DM Commission, said: “This has been quite a year for anyone and everyone involved in the marketing data lifecycle. The GDPR has put direct marketing in the spotlight as never before. The question now is ‘Has this made a difference?’ My sense is for most yes and for some no. Today most businesses understand the importance of their customer relationships and are conscious of the impact on their brands of not abiding by the new laws.”

Kidd continues: “Sadly, there is still a dreadful minority whose whole purpose in life seems to be to ‘spam and scam’, who misrepresent themselves, mislead those they target and have no regard for the law, except perhaps if the changes really do expose them to tougher action. The GDPR should give state regulators the power to focus on those organisations that spam and scam by intent.”