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DMA Refers GetItFree.net to the Federal Trade Commission
WASHINGTON, October 24, 2006 – The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Committee on Ethical Business Practice, acting on a consumer complaint, has referred one company, GetItFree.net, to federal and state law enforcement agencies for possible action against the company.
The consumer complaint against GetItFree.net alleges that the company offered a free $50 gift certificate to consumers who referred friends to its Web-based program. The Committee believed that the company’s initial e-mail did not adequately disclose the marketer’s identity. It also requested additional information concerning any qualifications or conditions accompanying the “free” gift card, as conditions were not referenced in the initial e-mail. The company did not respond to the Committee’s questions or concerns, and the matter was referred to the Federal Trade Commission for its review. GetItFree.net is not a DMA member.
The Committee on Ethical Business Practice, comprised of 17 executives from DMA member companies, investigates and examines mailings and offerings made throughout the direct marketing field based on complaints and inquiries received. The Committee examines promotions and practices that may violate DMA's self-regulatory Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice.
The Committee on Ethical Business Practice works with both member and non-member companies to promote good business practices for direct marketers and voluntary cooperation with DMA. If a non-member or a member company does not cooperate with the Committee and the Committee believes violations of law may also have occurred, referral of the case is generally made to federal and/or state law enforcement authorities for their review; such referral may be made public.
"For the vast majority of complaints we receive, we are able to resolve the issues satisfactorily,” said Patricia Kachura, senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs at The DMA. “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.”
The DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice are available online at
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents more than 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 50 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, marketers – commercial and nonprofit – will spend an estimated $166.5 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures will generate an estimated $1.93 trillion in incremental sales. This year, direct marketing will account for 10.3 percent of total US GDP. Also, there are today 1.7 million direct marketing employees in the US alone. Their collective sales efforts directly support 8.8 million other jobs. That accounts for 10.5 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.