Key figures in the direct marketing industry have held showdown talks with Royal Mail over proposed changes to the pricing structure of the Postcode Address File – revealed earlier this week – in an effort to get major concessions from the postal operator.
The talks follow outrage from many in the industry over Royal Mail’s plans to charge between 1p and 8p for each record checked against PAF – a move which some claimed would cause “pandemonium” in the sector.
A DMA spokesman declined to comment on whether the trade body was involved in any talks, maintaining it was still going through the official consultation process.
Royal Mail issued a consultation on the PAF changes on August 12, which closes today (September 20) and speaking to DecisionMarketing earlier this week it maintained that it wanted “to encourage and make it easier for bureaux and mailers of all sizes who use PAF to maintain customer databases and for mailing purposes”.
It added: “We would like to reassure customers that our intention is to develop a pricing structure that meets the current and future needs of the market, whilst maintaining current revenue levels.”
But the move sparked uproar, with GI Solution’s deputy managing director Patrick Headley claiming: “The industry is up in arms and this will result in pandemonium. If this goes ahead it will be devastating to the industry and I can see companies going out of business. I hope Royal Mail sees sense.”
The British Association for Print and Communication also slammed the proposals.
A DMA statement reads: “The DMA is very concerned about the proposed changes to PAF pricing and has contributed its response to Royal Mail’s consultation. The DMA’s response details the likely financial impact on businesses that depend on using PAF and our overall concerns around data hygiene should companies cease using PAF as a core data source. The DMA solicited the views of its members that stand to be affected, as well as encouraged them to contribute directly to the consultation. The DMA will continue to work with all parties to ensure an agreement is reached that is equitable to all.”
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