Why legitimate marketers cannot afford further delays in the Government's nuisance calls consultation | Why legitimate marketers cannot afford further delays in the Government's nuisance calls consultation | DMA

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Why legitimate marketers cannot afford further delays in the Government's nuisance calls consultation

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With consumer complaints about nuisance calls and spam texts on the rise, the DMA has warned the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) against delaying its consultation on the issue until after the summer recess. The consultation seeks to make it easier to fine rogue firms that break the law by sending nuisance calls and spam texts.

Nuisance calls and spam texts has been a persistent problem for the industry over the last few years, damaging the reputation of the industry as it unfairly groups together the legitimate one to one marketing industry with rogue companies.

Record numbers of complaints to regulators and the TPS over the past few years have led to criticisms of the industry from government, consumer rights groups and the press. However, the DMA has been spearheading the industry’s initiatives to tackle the problem of nuisance calls and spam texts, and we have now reached a stage where our interests are aligned. What’s more, consumer groups and the press recognise the valuable role of one to one marketing to businesses and consumers alike.

Rogue firm, Tetrus Telecommunications, contests fine
The issue is especially important because in June 2014, the ICO lost an appeal against a decision to overturn a £300,000 monetary penalty that it served against Tetrus Telecommunications in 2012 for sending spam texts in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). The tribunal ruled that it was unlikely that individuals who received text spams from the company would be significantly “disturbed” or “distressed”.

It is likely that many other rogue companies will now attempt to have their fines overturned. In essence, the ICO will find it very difficult to issue fines to companies that break the law until the legislation is changed.

Commenting on nuisance calls, the DMA’s director of external affairs, Mike Lordan said: “The ICO is keen to clamp down on companies breaking the law, but DCMS is stalling on the action it needs to take to make it easier to fine rogue operators responsible for spam text and nuisance calls.

“As the law currently stands, these wrongdoers are simply able to get away with breaking the rules with impunity. This means that without deterrence, complaints from consumers will continue to rise, and the legitimate telemarketing and mobile marketing industries will continue to suffer.”

Government praises DMA for its work in the fight against nuisance calls
The DMA sits on the Which? Taskforce which has been asked by government to address the issue of nuisance calls but to ensure balance by supporting legitimate marketing companies that abide by the rules.

The government’s March 2014 report, Nuisance calls action plan, recognised the proactive work the DMA has done to tackle the issue. Specifically, the government named the accreditation scheme TPS Assured and the DMA Code of Practice as great examples of responsible one-to-one marketing in action.

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