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DMA Ethics Committees Call Attention to Non-Compliant Companies
WASHINGTON, January 30, 2007 - The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) acting on consumer complaints, today published the names of four companies whose marketing practices are not in compliance with DMA’s self-regulatory Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice.
DMA works with both member and non-member companies to promote good business practices for direct marketers. Compliance with the Guidelines is a requirement of DMA membership. The Committee on Ethical Business Practice and Teleservices Ethics Committee are comprised of executives from DMA member companies who investigate consumer complaints about marketing practices that may violate DMA's self-regulatory guidelines.
"For the vast majority of complaints we receive, we are able to resolve the issues satisfactorily," said Patricia Kachura, DMA’s senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs. "When we are unable to do so, our policy is to publicly announce the companies that fail to cooperate with our investigations or comply with DMA’s ethical guidelines."
If a company does not cooperate with DMA, and the committees believe violations of law may also have occurred, DMA also refers the complaint to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
From August - December 2006, the two DMA committees investigated 23 consumer complaints about mail, e-mail and telephone solicitations and the collection and sharing of marketing data. DMA was able to work with the most of the companies involved to correct questionable practices. Concerns were not able to be resolved with the following four companies, none of which are DMA members:
· Nations Lending Corporation of Parma Heights, OH and Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corporation of Houston, TX did not respond to concerns that their promotions appeared to be from recipients’ current mortgage lenders and/or from government agencies when they actually were not.
· National Litigation Bureau of Durham, NC did not resolve concerns that its promotion for a business newsletter subscription appeared in the guise of an invoice; the matter was referred to the US Postal Inspection Service for its review.
· Contacts for Accounting Services (believed to be located in Florida), could not be identified to resolve concerns about automated telemarketing calls. DMA referred the consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorneys General of Florida and California (where the complaint originated).
· DMA also referred a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission about unsolicited text messages from an unidentified travel center.
The full case report from DMA’s ethics committees is available online athttp://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscasereportaugust-december2006.pdf. DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice are available online at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicalguidelines.shtml.
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The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents more than 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 50 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, marketers - commercial and nonprofit - spent $166.5 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated $1.93 trillion in incremental sales. Last year, direct marketing accounted for 10.3 percent of total US GDP. Also, there are today 1.7 million direct marketing employees in the US alone. Their collective sales efforts directly support 8.8 million other jobs. That accounts for 10.5 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.