Industry enforcement body the Direct Marketing Commission has waded into the row over how consent is gained for marketing data blasting the fact that many data suppliers are selling customer information without making the proper checks.
According to the DMC’s annual report, the issue was the main cause of complaints from consumers during the past 12 months, even though the number of complaints has actually fallen, down 25% to 262 in 2014/15 from 360 in 2013/14.
However, the vast majority have been around consent to marketing calls and messages, how and when it was given, and how the data was then used.
DMC Chief Commissioner George Kidd (pictured) said: “It’s simply not good enough for people to buy and sell data if they have no means of satisfying themselves that the people involved have given consent for the information to be shared in the way proposed. Consent is something people give, not something that is taken.
“The DMA Code says members are responsible for the proper sourcing, consents and cleansing of the data they trade and that members are responsible for the actions of their suppliers. The DMC wants to make sure that these rules are applied. We see it as a problem if things go wrong and members tell us they relied on the assurances of others that consent has been given for the use of data but did nothing to check that this was true.”
Of the complaints received, 60 related to DMA members and the remainder were referred to the appropriate statutory or self-regulatory body. There were five formal investigations and most of these involved issues that had affected many of the general public and had been the cause of hundreds of complaints to other bodies or media criticism.
In two cases the Commission upheld breaches of the DMA Code. In three cases the Commission set out where it thought reforms were needed to ensure future compliance with the DMA Code. In all cases the changes were agreed. In each case the Commission shares its findings with the DMA and it has been an active contributor to initiatives by the Association to ensure DMA membership is seen as proof of a commitment to standards and trust in the market place.
The DMC has also announced the appointment of two new Industry Commissioners to help in its work – Fuel chief executive Charles Ping and Barclays director of information policy and strategy Fedelma Good. They who replace retiring Commissioners David Coupe and Danny Meadows-Klue.
Good began her career in banking in Dublin, gaining her MSc in computer science, and then moving to London where she further built her career with Deloitte, Equifax, Acxiom and running her own consultancy before going back to banking at Barclays.
Ping has more than 25 years’ experience as a client, a supplier and running an agency. He is also a former chair of the DMA, and for the past ten years has been a non-executive director of the Advertising Standards Board of Finance, which regulates non-broadcast advertising.
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