The Telephone Preference Service has been plunged into fresh controversy with a new Decision Marketing investigation revealing that the file is being hawked around by unlicensed overseas data companies.
As part of our ongoing “Call for Action on the TPS” campaign – designed to get the regulator to review the 17-year-old service – last week Decision Marketing discovered that the file does not even have the most basic security measures, including seed names, to prevent abuse.
Meanwhile a number of online services are allowed to relicence the TPS, in breach of its terms and conditions, and charge over four times the amount of a one-time usage.
Now, we have gathered evidence which proves that overseas data companies are offering access to the file even though they do not have permission to do so and are not included in the DMA’s 41 approved businesses.
Some may argue that the more businesses which offer so-called scrubbing services the better, but by giving these data firms access to your company’s customer information they will be able to see who is and who is not on the TPS, with unscrupulous operators then able to extract that information and sell it on.
There are even claims that some rogue companies are offering to sell the complete file for the right price.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, which took over the running of the TPS in December, is currently powerless to act against overseas companies, which, ironically, are said to be the main nuisance call offenders.
Decision Marketing publishing editor Charlie McKelvey said: “Most people in the direct marketing industry – privately even those who run the TPS – concede it is simply not fit for purpose. Our latest investigations are just further evidence that it simply isn’t working.
“When we first launched our campaign, there were many people who questioned our motives, and probably hoped it would all die down. But five months on, we are more determined than ever to get the authorities to act. No-one said it would be easy but something needs to be done, and urgently.”
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