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DMA shuns CTPS guidelines after two-year wait

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has finally published 'new' guidelines on the use of the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS), aimed at helping telemarketing companies use the controversial suppression service.

Although no-one was available for interview at the ICO, according to a spokesperson, the notes have been published “as part of an ongoing programme to increase understanding of these important information rights”. This is despite the fact that they are the first to be published (since initial guidelines when launched) on the CTPS and come two years after the service's initial implication.

The notes form two sheets of A4 paper and include three sections: how to register your company's telephone number, regulations for making unsolicited DM telephone calls to companies and how to complain.

John Price, chair of the DMA contact centre and Telemarketing Council, comments, “These notes don't go into any more detail than those published at the CTPS launch, in fact I don't know why they've released them.”

The only difference to the launch guidelines identified by Price is that they now do not include information about list-cleaning.

In the 2004 Department for Trade & Industry (DTI) guidelines drawn up during the consultation process for the CTPS, the DTI made it clear that companies could phone others for the purposes of list enhancement, as long as it was not a marketing call.

Price continues that many in the telemarketing industry feared data would become out of date if they were banned from contacting certain businesses. He suggests it is interesting that no-one challenged the DTI on this point two years ago and comments that the lawful procedure for contacting a company listed on the CTPS is impractical.

For example, if a telemarketing company rings a business legitimately, but is put through to a CTPS listed number from reception, the call has to be stopped and the list removed from the database. Price contends that this need to halt the call once put through to a CTPS-listed number, is an “unrealistic” expectation for companies making the call.