Decision Marketing is stepping up its campaign aimed at building industry support for a review of the Telephone Preference Service by revealing plans to hold two industry summits – one in London, the other in Manchester – and is urging interested parties to attend.
The campaign has already been backed by a raft of senior industry figures, and the DMA has finally broken its silence over the issue, although its response has caused some concern among supporters of the “Call for Action on TPS” initiative.
The industry body, which has over 50 members involved in either telephone data or outbound telemarketing, has already dismissed calls to remove inactive numbers from the list, insisting it would be counter-productive, even though consumers who take over the numbers find themselves inadvertently registered on the TPS.
DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “[Removing inactive numbers] could suddenly make available millions of telephone numbers to both legitimate and illegitimate marketers alike, which would undoubtedly drive an increase in cold and nuisance calls. This perceived increase in potentially unwanted calls would only draw negative attention to the channel.”
But one campaign supporter, who is a DMA member but wishes to remain anonymous, said: “On the one hand [Aldighieri] says that rogue businesses are happy to flout the law by calling customers who have registered with the TPS and on the other saying that removing inactive numbers would make available millions of numbers to both legitimate and illegitimate firms alike. The point here is the rogues already have access to all numbers because they ignore the TPS. Just as any criminal ignores the law.
“The fact is that rogue businesses benefit immensely from the present situation as those on TPS only receive calls from the law breakers and thus have no competition from genuine business. The irony is that legitimate law abiding businesses pay thousands of pounds to license the TPS and have to purchase and maintain expensive data processing systems to adhere to the law, quite apart from the tax they also contribute to the economy.
“I am surprised that the DMA is happy to knowingly continue providing inaccurate TPS registration data of telephone numbers which have either been reallocated or ceased ownership to licensees, given one of the basic principles of data protection law is that data should be accurate, updated regularly and not kept longer than necessary. As an ICO registered organisation, we would be liable for a substantial fine should we choose to use or knowingly supply clients old and inaccurate data.”
Decision Marketing publishing editor Charlie McKelvey said: “This issue is not going to go away. Legitimate telemarketing and data companies – many of them DMA members – feel they are being treated like they are breaking the law. How can that be right? The summits will be an opportunity to get a broader perspective on the issue, and I urge anyone who is keen to get involved to attend.”
The first industry summit will be held in London on November 24 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster; the Manchester forum is still being finalised, although the date and venue will be confirmed next week.
For further details about the events, please email event organiser Nick Rines at MR Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
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