Telemarketing accreditation scheme takeup ‘slow’

The Direct Marketing Association is to step up efforts to promote and expand its accreditation scheme that recognises telemarketing companies that meet industry standards of ethical practice after admitting take-up has been “slow”.

Call Centre
The Direct Marketing Association is to step up efforts to promote and expand its accreditation scheme, TPS Assured.

The scheme launched in October 2013 and was designed to reassure the public not all telemarketers are rogue operators making nuisance calls by awarding companies that demonstrate they are compliant with the requirements of the Telephone Preference Service a ‘TPS Assured’ badge.

To become accredited, telemarketers need to show records proving they have met ten requirements including the source of the call list, the number called and the caller ID displayed to the recipient.

It costs £500 plus VAT each time they apply for certification, then £3,000 plus VAT for an initial single-site audit, followed by £1,500 plus VAT for subsequent annual audits to renew their membership.

The DMA would not reveal details of how many had signed up and how this compared to launch objectives but John Mitchison, head of preference services, legal and compliance at the DMA told Marketing Week takeup was trailing expectations.

“TPS Assured was well received when we launched it in October last year. Anglian Windows and Which? both piloted the scheme and have found it hugely beneficial.

“This is the first phase of the scheme aimed at bringing on board brands that conduct telemarketing in-house. We have so far found uptake to be slow mainly because the majority already have long-standing relationships with compliance auditors. Our job is to continue to inform the market that in-house telemarketers require specialist expertise that TPS Assured provides.

“We will continue to promote the service to the market via a telemarketing and ad mail campaign.”

The DMA hoped the award of the accreditation will help repair some of the reputational damage inflicted on telemarketers following a slew of negative headlines.

Currently it is only awarded to brands that make their own outbound calls, not the contracted call centres that are often guilty of not screening the TPS and therefore making the unwanted calls.

However, a version for supplier call centres is being developed, Mitchison adds.

The TPS, run by the DMA under license from Ofcom but enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has almost 18 million people registered that have asked to be removed from prospect lists.

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