The DMA has warned companies using marketing mail and telemarketing that losing consumer trust is the number one business risk of using data unscreened against ‘do not contact’ lists, such as the Mailing and Telephone Preference Services – even ahead of the threat of regulatory action.
The claim follows recent media coverage of the Advertising Standard Authority’s high-profile ruling against adult products retailer Life ‘n’ Love for breaching its CAP Code by sending marketing mail to people registered with the MPS, and the recent publication of the DM Commission’s annual report that revealed the majority of its investigations in 2013 were into consumer complaints about companies making nuisance calls.
The ASA and DM Commission are self-regulatory bodies and do not have statutory powers, such as the ability to issue fines, unlike Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Chris Combemale, the DMA’s executive director, said that the potential loss of customers should focus businesses’ attention on ensuring they do not contact people on opt-out registers.
“Consumer trust is essential to effective one-to-one communication, but this is all too easily jeopardised by not making the simple check to see if someone wants to be contacted or not.
“Watchdogs like the ASA and DMC have a vital role in holding businesses to account for wrongdoing, and over the past year we’ve seen the ICO starting to issue fines to companies for nuisance calls and spam texts.
“But the biggest risk businesses face is from losing consumer trust, which means losing potential customers and potential revenue. This should be incentive enough for businesses to check their consumer data against the MPS and TPS.”
More than 5.5 million names and addresses are registered with the MPS, and nearly 20 million private landline and mobile numbers on the TPS. It is a legal requirement for telemarketers to screen their contact data against the TPS. Companies can access the MPS and TPS registers by applying for a licence.