Commission launched to ensure high standards in Direct Mark

The Direct Marketing Commission (DMC) has announced its launch as the independent self-regulatory body for the UK's direct marketing industry. The DMC will investigate complaints of inappropriate and unethical direct marketing practice and spearhead the industry's drive towards self-regulation. To fulfil its consumer protection role the Commission will ensure that direct marketers observe the Code of Practice on Direct Marketing, while maintaining an even-handed approach to all of its practitioners. All disciplines of Direct Marketing practice - including direct mail, email, SMS, interactive television, mail order, telephone, catalogue and online - will be under the jurisdiction of the organisation. Members of the public and businesses can lodge complaints to the Commission, with the results of investigations and further guidance being published on its website every month. The Commission will provide a portal to other regulatory bodies whenever it receives complaints that fall outside its own scope: these will include relevant Trading Standards Authorities, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and The Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The independent Chairman of the Commission, Matti Alderson, former Director General of the Advertising Standards Authority and a Press Complaints Commissioner, heads up a Board comprising four industry and four independent members. Alderson commented: "Without a properly structured body that is independent from trade associations, consumers and policy makers give the concept and effectiveness of self-regulation little credence. However, the vast majority of the direct marketing industry realise that self-regulation is enlightened self-interest. The industry already enjoys a high level of compliance with the Code. The DMC is designed to secure the interests of consumers and the industry accountably and transparently, and to ensure that the direct marketing industry continues to maintain and raise its standards."

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