Concerns around data, privacy and its accuracy continue to dominate complaints to the DM Commission – the organisation which polices the DMA membership – even though the organisation has reported a marked reduction in complaints, from over 200 in 2017 to just over 100 last year.
According to the DM Commission’s Annual Report, it 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 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 2018. Neither business was named in the report.
George Kidd (pictured), 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.
“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.
“These outfits are not going to be in DMA membership or part of any other reputable club and statutory regulators deserve credit for the stubbornness with which they pursue them. But, it can seem an impossible task when the regulators must follow Marquess of Queensberry rules and due process and the rogues can do as they please.
“The GDPR should give state regulators the power to focus on those organisations that spam and scam by intent.”
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