The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has expelled from its membership a marketing data list broker trading in the UK as Data Providers UK and B2B Data Lists Group (Data Providers UK), both trading names of Infomonitor Global LLC, a US corporation.
The sanction by the DMA Board follows the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC) upholding four complaints of breaches of the Direct Marketing Code of Practice (4th edition) (DM Code), the self-regulatory code of practice that DMA members must abide by.
Between October 2010 and July 2011 the DMC received 10 complaints from non-DMA members who sourced data from B2B Data Lists. The complaints related to data supplied by the company, and the way in which the company dealt with complaints.
According to the DMC’s findings, Data Providers UK breached a number of sections of the DM Code on a repeated basis, specifically on the points that the company sold data without proper regard for whether it met client requirements, unreasonably sought to absolve itself of responsibility for the data, and that refunds were refused or only offered as a last resort. Due to the serious nature of the breaches, the DMC recommended to the DMA Board that Data Providers UK be expelled from DMA membership.
In spite of Data Providers UK resigning from membership, the standard six-month resignation notice period meant that the company was still served with an expulsion notice. Details of its expulsion will be shared with the Office of Fair Trading.
Commenting on the expulsion, Scott Logie, chair of the DMA Board said: “DMA membership is a clear indicator of a company operating to the highest standards, standing for professionalism and trustworthiness. The DM Code of Practice is the cornerstone of our efforts to maintain political, commercial and consumer faith in direct marketing. Therefore, any company that fails to operate within these standards brings both the DMA and the industry into disrepute. It’s for this reason that we had no choice but to expel Data Providers UK from membership.”
George Kidd, chair of the DMC, said: “The quality of data lists used by marketers is crucial to responsible direct marketing. However, Data Providers UK seemed to show a complete disregard for the source or quality of its data, and for customer service. We take such reckless breaches of our Code extremely seriously and are very satisfied that the DMA Board voted to revoke the company’s membership.”
The DMA’s DM Code helps to maintain the self-regulation of the direct marketing industry by setting out for DMA members their legal obligations and the highest standards of best practice. Expulsion from membership is the toughest sanction the DMA can take against companies breaching the DM Code.
The DMA last expelled a company from membership in December 2008.
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