The Chicago Association of Direct Marketing (CADM) has revised its code of conduct for the first time since the early 1980’s.
Failure to comply could lead to termination of membership, the group said yesterday.
Among other things, the new code allows marketers to use information collected in an ongoing relationship with a customer, but says that they cannot share it with other firms unless consumers have a chance to opt out.
“The existing code of conduct couldn’t keep up with the rapid changes in the business environment,” said Jim Carey, former president of CADM, in a statement.
The revised code states that:
*Buyers have the right to expect that all visual and written depictions of a product or service, its features and benefits are true and accurate and live up to the expectations created by the marketer.
*Buyers have the right to expect that all purchases are sent at their request, are delivered in a timely fashion, in good condition, and have their choice of a prompt refund or replacement if not satisfied.
*Marketers shall collect only such data about the buyer that is pertinent to an on-going relationship with the buyer and does not exceed accepted privacy standards.
*Marketers may use information collected (as defined in the above statement) to facilitate the making of additional offers on the part of the marketer that may interest the buyer.
*Marketers may offer collected information to other marketers for offers that may be of interest to the buyer, provided that buyers are given the opportunity to inform marketers to do otherwise.
*Buyers have the right to remedies for the failures to act ethically on the part of member firms by contacting the CADM board to seek mediation of disputes.
The code provides “base-level ethical standards painted with a broad brush,” added Mitchell Lieber, president of CADM and head of Lieber & Associates, in a statement. “Complying with the law already is required. Ethics apply to issues not addressed by law.”