DMA Ethics Committee Provides Update
January 23, 2006 – The Direct Marketing Association's (DMA's) Committee on Ethical Business Practice has released a revised update on actions undertaken in the second half of 2005 to investigate consumer complaints about direct marketing practice.
In December, the Committee reported that three companies had failed to cooperate with the Committee toward reaching appropriate complaint resolutions.
Intelius, an online reference (or look-up) service to locate individuals, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, initially had failed to confirm that sources of information for the reference service did not include marketing data, and whether and how consumers could remove their names from the service.
Since the December report, however, Intelius, a current DMA member, confirmed that marketing data are not used in its reference service and provided information as to how consumers can remove their names.
"The vast majority of cases reviewed by DMA Ethics Committees are usually resolved," said Patricia Kachura, DMA's senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs. "We are pleased that when contacted as part of our investigations, companies almost always take steps to improve their processes and come into compliance with our guidelines."
DMA's Committee on Ethical Business Practice, comprised of 15 executives from DMA member companies, investigates and examines mailings and offerings made throughout the direct marketing field based on complaints and inquiries received. Between July and November 2005, DMA Ethics Committees heard 20 cases, six of which were on general advertising, including off and online promotions and practices, six on telemarketing practices and eight on the collection, use and maintenance of marketing data.
Individuals who have received a direct marketing solicitation that they believe is in violation of applicable laws or DMA ethical guidelines are encouraged to file a complaint with the Committee on Ethical Business Practice.
DMA regularly publishes its Ethics Case Report. The last one published was for July through November 2005. The reports cover the work of DMA’s Committee on Ethical Business Practice and the Teleservices Ethics Committee. To access these DMA reports, visit http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscase.shtml.
If you are aware of a promotion or practice that should be brought to the attention of one of the ethics committees, an online form is available at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscomplaintform.pdf.
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