Richard West in Tidy Profit in Junk (MW April 10) is right to point out that the print and mail industry needs to pay greater attention to quality in its activities. We’ve all suffered from doormats full of rubbish for previous occupants.
While this is an irritation, this type of error does not often cause any breach of confidentiality or any risk to the person whose details are out of date.
More serious is when “live” data is sent to the wrong address. There have been cases recently where bank statements and a chequebook of a lottery winner was sent to the wrong address. Luckily the recipient was honest and reported it to the bank… but was very willing to be interviewed by The Sun.
In the US, new legislation (called HIPAA) requires health insurers and any company they outsource mailing to, to take greater care with customer information. Failure to do so, resulting in details being sent the wrong person, could cost the company a $50,000 fine.
The UK’s print and mail industry needs to recognise the integrity of its mailings as a serious commercial issue. It won’t take many high-profile cases in this country before consumer bodies to start talking about similar legislation to be imposed here. Not to mention the negative publicity that will be caused.
It is incumbent on the print and mail industry to start to get it house in order and pay attention to data quality and mail integrity. A standard that drives improvements in this that is led by the industry is far more appealing than legislation.