The Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) has amended its Code of Conduct (“Code”) which came into force on 18 August 2014. The Code is a self-regulatory code of practice which applies to the DMA’s members, and is supplementary to data protection legislation. It is enforced by the Direct Marketing Commission which has the power to recommend that the DMA suspend or cancel a membership, require formal undertakings of compliance from the member or even refer the matter to the Trading Standards Authority or the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The new Code is underpinned by five principles:
- Put your customer first
- Respect privacy
- Be honest and fair
- Be diligent with data
- Take responsibility
The Code describes the first of these, ‘Put your customer first’, as the ‘hero’ principle, and promotes the concept of direct marketing as a value exchange between businesses looking to offer goods and services, and consumers benefitting from them. It encourages transparency, an efficient service, and its members should only send consumers marketing information that is relevant to them. Fostering a culture of trust between organisations and consumers, and promoting a fundamental respect of data protection rights, is the clear aim of the new Code.
This appears to be a move by the DMA to acknowledge that consumers are more discerning and are more aware of how organisations handle their personal information than ever before, perhaps due to the pervasive presence of social media and online shopping in our every day lives.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.