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Regulation Hub Update - October 2020


This article is written by Steve Sullivan who is the Deputy Chair of the Contact Centre Council.

Direct Marketing Code Delayed

The DMA’s John Mitchison has revealed that the ICO are looking at a “significant delay” in the release of the finalised – and much discussed - Direct Marketing Code of Practice. Into 2021, at least.

They did warn us…

As we explained at the time, early on in the pandemic the ICO said that it would especially focus on those seeking to exploit consumers around Coronavirus.

Digital Growth Experts (DGE) has been fined £60,000 for sending 16,000 marketing text messages for which they could not demonstrate any consent. Most spam text and email marketers which fall foul of the ICO have sent vastly higher volumes of messages, but no doubt the content of these ones - hand sanitiser claimed to be "effective against coronavirus” - was a trigger for enforcement.

"DGEL played upon people’s concerns at a time of great public uncertainty, acting with a blatant disregard for the law, and all to feather its own pockets. We will prioritise action on organisations carrying out similar activity."

Andy Curry ICO Head of Investigations

Marriott’s data breach fine delayed yet again

Mishcon De Reya has reported that a final decision on the ICO’s shrinking fine of Marriott for its data breach has been delayed once again.

Brexit adequacy doubts

On Friday, The Guardian reported that the government's plans to change data protection rules create a further impediment to the chances of the UK’s data privacy being judged ‘adequate’ by the EU before the end of the Brexit transition period. If accurate, this should be a major concern.

Another trade deal deadline has just been and gone, so we'll continue to have to wait and see.

Business interruption insurance victory

To cut a long and complicated story short, the FCA’s victory in its court case against insurance firms which denied policy holding businesses pay-outs for some business interruption claims could be good news. It depends on specific policy wording – and is subject to insurance companies’ appeals – but might offer a lifeline to contact centres which have lodged unsuccessful interruption claims.

No to “Computer Says No”

Whilst advising mortgage lenders that they would need to continue to show flexibility to borrowers negatively affected by Coronavirus, the FCA’s Jonathan Davidson warned against solely automated decision-making and customer journeys:

“Where customers do follow a more automated journey we will want them to understand the implications of the option they agree to. You will of course need to monitor the outcomes they receive – so that you can act quickly to fix any issues and put them back in the right position.”

Another month and another challenger energy provider has failed. Tonik Energy’s 130,000 customers have been transferred to Scottish Power by Ofgem.

In parallel, two leading lights of the attempt by local authorities to create publicly-owned energy providers - Bristol Energy & Robin Hood – have folded into British Gas and been sold, respectively.

Ofwat has released its ‘C-MeX’ customer satisfaction league table of domestic water providers. Welsh Dŵr Cymru has come out top, with Portsmouth Water in second place. From the next year (2020-21) the water companies’ relative performance will result in either financial bonuses or penalties.

Ofcom says that fraud using 070 range numbers has dropped by 75% over the past year, since Ofcom introduced new price cap on calls and transferred calls to these numbers.

Devon Kelly, a former director of fined premium rates firm, Madlenka, has been banned from operating premium rate services for 5 years.

The Fundraising Regulator has highlighted that charities fundraising more than £1m annually often still aren't meeting the reporting requirements of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

No contact centre news this month from the TPS or in the world of payments.

Content accurate as of 13th October 2020

Find the latest update here

Previous regulation update:

September 2020 update

More from the Contact Centre Council:

The Future of the Contact Centre
Outbound Telemarketing Campaigns Guide
Is your contact centre ready for changes to the European Payment Services Directive?

Hear more from the DMA

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