British DMA Will Run Country's Telephone Preference Service

Share this content:
LONDON - The British DMA has won a government contract to run the UK's telephone preference service that allows consumers to opt out of receiving calls from telemarketers.

The DMA had run a voluntary TPS that attracted 280,000 Britons. The new service is mandatory and brings the UK into compliance with the EU's Privacy in Telecommunications Directive. The directive effectively killed fax direct marketing by demanding opt-in or prior consumer consent.

"I don't think it's going to affect the telemarketing industry too much, but it's going to introduce a great sense of discipline in the UK telemarketing industry, which isn't exactly the flavor of the month here," said Colin Fricker, DMA's director of legal and legislative affairs.

Colin Lloyd, the group's CEO, said the regulations will benefit the industry by reducing time and money on calls to consumers who don't want to be bothered.

Wasted calls cost $4 each, he noted, adding that under the voluntary scheme companies were saving 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) a year by not calling opt-outs.

Consumers who want to opt out must call the TPS to get their names erased from telemarketers' call lists. The procedure can take up to 28 days. One drawback is that consumers can't pick and choose which calls to take. For example, opt-outs won't receive customer service calls and sales aftercare. Telemarketers must now check with the TPS before making unsolicited calls or face legal action from the Data Protection Registrar who enforces compliance.

"We got the preferable of the options: opt out, instead of opt in," said Fricker. "We want the industry to comply because if it doesn't, the government will interfere and force opt in."

The regulations will hit insurance companies hardest, Fricker added requiring companies to ask policy holders for permission to make cross-selling calls.

British companies will have to ask customers for consent in writing on any contract documents for sales calls or faxes, he added.

All 280,000 names registered under the four-year-old voluntary scheme will automatically be transferred to the new database.

Telemarketers must subscribe to the service in order to receive the lists of individuals who opt out and pay a fee that reflects usage. Fees range from $12,000 for a complete data file to $1,200 for a 1-percent count.

Rates for ad hoc data supply are sharply lower, varying from a one-time charge of $1,600 for a complete data file to $1,200 for a 50-percent count and $160 for 1 percent.

Telemarketing is big business in the UK, with firms spending 15.4 billion pounds ($24.6 billion) a year. The industry employs 1.3 million people, or 5 percent of the work force.

Next Article in Agency

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

USAData helps businesses find new customers and grow their current customers through a combination of data and digital marketing services, and easy-to-use SaaS technology products. We enrich customer data so businesses can more effectively target and communicate with customers, and connect them with their best look-alike prospects through digital and traditional channels. We make it easy through simple, self-serve applications and APIs, as well as through full-service programs managed by our Data and Digital experts. 

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above