What does the future hold for telemarketing? | DMA

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What does the future hold for telemarketing?


The recent avalanche of proposals for tighter control over the industry has me wondering what the future holds for telemarketing. It seems that politicians have decided not to kiss babies as a way to garner votes, but to ‘get tough’ on telemarketers.

I support some, but not all, of the initiatives. Which one gets your vote?

The Commons Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee

Published its Report into Nuisance Calls on 5 December 2013. Broadly welcomed by the DMA it says:

  • Nuisance calls are irritating and distressing. Scattergun marketing is needlessly disruptive; it benefits few, and at worst is unscrupulous or fraudulent. The challenge is to curtail bad and illegal practice while allowing legitimate marketing and reasonable unsolicited calls
  • Some scope for tighter regulations – eg compulsory Call Line Identification and lower threshold for ICO enforcement action
  • ICO and Ofcom should use their powers more broadly and frequently to punish wrongdoers

The DCMS will respond on behalf of the Government to the Select Committee’s report within the next few months.

DCMS/Ofcom Joint Action Plan Report

The Joint Action Plan Report on nuisance calls will be published soon. The key elements are:

  • Ongoing, targeted enforcement action
  • Improving the tracing of nuisance calls and messages
  • Effective coordinated action, including a review of the impact of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The Communication (Unsolicited Telephone Calls and Texts) Bill

Mike Crockart MP Private Member’s Bill addresses two issues. Firstly, how consent to being contacted for marketing purposes is given and used and, secondly, giving regulators more tools to enforce the law.

He was not in the Commons to name another date for a Second Reading of the Bill, so it stalled. The Bill will not be passed.

The Unsolicited Telephone Communications Bill

Proposed by Lord Selsdon, the Bill planned to bring the UK in line with Germany, where companies are banned from making outbound telemarketing calls unless consumers have opted in to receive them.

However, the Government did not favour Lord Selsdon’s approach. The Bill will not be passed.

But many of these proposals could become academic when/if the new EU Data Protection Regulation comes into force (2017?). It may change telemarketing from an opt-out system to an opt-in rule. Will you vote for that?

By DMA guest blogger Graham Smith, Marketing Director, SCi Sales Group and DMA Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council member

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