DMA Ethics Committees Call Attention to Four Non- Compliant Companies
January 31, 2007 — Acting on consumer complaints, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has published the names of four companies whose marketing practices are not in compliance with DMA’s self-regulatory Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice.
DMA works with both member and non-member companies to promote good business practices for direct marketers. Compliance with the Guidelines is a requirement of DMA membership. DMA’s Committee on Ethical Business Practice and Teleservices Ethics Committee are comprised of executives from member companies who investigate consumer complaints about marketing practices that may violate DMA's self-regulatory guidelines.
"For the vast majority of complaints we receive, we are able to resolve the issues satisfactorily,” said Patricia Kachura, DMA’s senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs. “When we are unable to do so, our policy is to publicly announce the companies that fail to cooperate with our investigations or comply with DMA’s ethical guidelines.”
If a company does not cooperate with DMA, and the committees believe violations of law may have occurred, DMA also refers the complaint to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
From August – December 2006, the two DMA committees investigated 23 consumer complaints about mail, e-mail, and telephone solicitations and the collection and sharing of marketing data. DMA was able to work with the most of the companies involved to correct questionable practices.
However, concerns were not able to be resolved with the following four companies – none of which are DMA members:
· Nations Lending Corporation of Parma Heights, OH and Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corporation of Houston, TX did not respond to concerns that their promotions appeared to be from recipients’ current mortgage lenders and/or from government agencies when they actually were not.
· National Litigation Bureau of Durham, NC did not resolve concerns that its promotion for a business newsletter subscription appeared in the guise of an invoice; the matter was referred to the US Postal Inspection Service for its review.
· Contacts for Accounting Services (believed to be located in Florida), could not be identified to resolve concerns about automated telemarketing calls. DMA referred the consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorneys General of Florida and California (where the complaint originated).
· DMA also referred a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission about unsolicited text messages from an unidentified travel center.
Additional DMA Resources
· DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice is available online at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicalguidelines.shtml
· To access the August – December 2006 report, please visit: http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscasereportaugust-december2006.pdf
· To access past reports, please click here: http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscase.shtml
· If you are aware of a promotion or practice that should be brought to the attention of one of the ethics committees, an online complaint form is available at: http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscomplaintform.pdf
· For additional information about the report or DMA’s Ethics and Consumer Affairs work, please contact Melissa Manis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.861.2408.
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