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DMA RELEASES ETHICS CASE REPORT FOR JANUARY JUNE 2004
NEW YORK, September 7, 2004 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today released its Ethics Case Report for January – June 2004. During this period, the Committee on Ethical Business Practice and the Teleservices Ethics Committee conducted in-depth reviews and audits of the promotions or practices of 30 companies. DMA ethics and consumer affairs staff handled an additional 1,065 complaints and inquiries from consumers about direct and interactive marketing practices.
Based on the 30 cases that were reviewed in-depth by the committees, The DMA re-iterated the importance of the following ethical business practices:
The Committees also forwarded two cases to government agencies/officials for review of potential legal violations.
Specifically, Remove.org of Washington, DC appears to have misled consumers as to the effectiveness of its service to remove names from national mailing, telephone, and e-mail lists. The company did not respond to numerous attempts to resolve these concerns, and the case was forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission.
Zuvio.com of Porter Ranch, CA reportedly changed consumers’ home pages on their computers to the company’s page without prior authorization. Although the company’s terms and conditions contained disclosures about this, the Committee on Ethical Business Practice did not view the disclosures as easy to find, read, and understand. The company did not respond to the committee’s attempts to resolve these consumer complaints, and the case was forwarded to the California Attorney General’s Office.
"Referring companies to law enforcement is sometimes our only option. We forward cases to the authorities if – in addition to violations of the ethics guidelines – a violation of law may also be occurring, and the company has not cooperated with The DMA’s Ethics Committees," said Patricia Faley Kachura, vice president, ethics and consumer affairs, The DMA.
The latest Ethics Case Report, published bi-annually by the ethics and consumer affairs department, is available online at: www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicscase.pdf.
If you are aware of a promotion or practice that should be brought to the attention of one of the Ethics Committees, contact department staff at email@example.com. There is also an online form at www.the-dma.org/guidelines/EthicsComplaintForm.pdf.
About The DMA
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.