Direct marketing industry gains independent regulator

An independent regulator for the direct marketing industry is launching this week. The Direct Marketing Commission (DMC) will “spearhead” an industry drive to be more “proactive and robust” with self-regulation.

The DMC, which launches on Thursday (September 4), will investigate complaints of inappropriate or unethical direct marketing from businesses and members of the public.

It will replace the Direct Marketing Authority, which is part of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and will regulate DMA and non-DMA members. It is the first time there has been an industry-wide regulator.

The DMC board will be headed by former director general of the Advertising Standards authority (ASA), Matti Alderson.

The body will cover direct mail, e-mail, SMS, interactive television, mail order and online. Complaints can be logged in writing or through its website and the results of completed investigations will be published online monthly.

It will also provide a portal for other regulatory bodies that fall outside of its own scope, such as the Trading Standards Authorities, ASA and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The new body can apply sanctions – depending on the seriousness of the complaint – such as a formal referral to the DMA with recommendation for suspension or expulsion or adverse publicity through statements to the national and marketing press.

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