DMA Investigates 23 Ethics Cases

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The Direct Marketing Association conducted 23 ethics investigations from July to December 2003, according to a report issued by the association yesterday.

No citations were issued in the investigations, though a few cases remain pending. The cases include 13 general advertising and business issues, four data collection and maintenance cases, four online cases and two teleservices cases.

In a statement, the DMA Ethics Committee said it was concerned about marketing data being used for non-marketing purposes, in particular for reference services. Such information is often made available online and thus open to review by anyone.

"The committee believes that most consumers would not realize or appreciate that such marketing information could be made available for a purpose other than marketing," the committee stated.

In addition, the committee said it was concerned about consumers being unaware of the ongoing nature of negative-option trial offers. It also voiced concerns about misleading envelope copy that exaggerates the nature, source and urgency of mailings.

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