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Market research companies are exempt from the TPS

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Hello, I hope this is the right forum and that I'm not going over old ground. I have searched for similar issues and haven't found anything.

 

We have just re-registered with the TPS [Telephone Preference Service] because we realised that our membership had expired, and are already ex-directory. I was rather surprised to receive a phone call yesterday evening from one of these companies on behalf of a public body. I mentioned the TPS and the lady told me they are exempt from it, and can also call ex-directory numbers.

 

I've checked it out and they seem like a reputable organisation, and their website confirms that they're exempt from the TPS.

 

It seems they haven't broken the rules, but I've contacted them through the website to ask to be removed from the database and told the TPS just in case. I'm just stunned that the system seems to allow exemption from rules I thought were put in place to protect us.

 

Does anyone have experience of this please? I'd be interested to know more.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes, they are not covered. The law governing this (you can see this on the TPS website) is pretty clear. As it is not a sales call then they are not covered. Even sales calls which originate from companies which you have had contact with, AIUI, are not covered - the unsolicited aspect does not apply to existing calls. So its not a "no cold caller" service. Also membership of TPS is permanent.

 

However it is against the MRS code of conduct to continue to include potential respondents on a call list where they have declined and indeed the MRS will regulate this. Though this doesn't bar them from including you on future lists, it is good manners not to, though with both aspects it is bad research practice to decline groups from taking part as it skews your samples. State on the phone that you do not wish to take part and also request removal from the list - this covers everything and they should have no reason to leave you on that list. If they call again I would personally write to the researcher's head office complaining and saying that if you are called again you will report it to the MRS.

 

The MRS are stricter than the DMA (who run TPS and regulate direct marketing) so they don't really need TPS. Any genuine market research company will be signed up and will not hide this fact.


The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

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Thank you for that, ForestChav. It's been a revelation, I really hadn't appreciated how complicated the system is. The company concerned seem to have taken swift action today and I believe we're off the database, so I can't complain about that.

 

I take your point about the 5 years; I renewed the TPS and MPS on the same day, maybe it's the MPS that expires after 5 years? I know one of them does.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Salesmen are perhaps more pushy but researchers tend to (with a bit of persuasion) take a no, especially if you explicitly say so. It's MRS mainly, like I said, the company can lose their MRS association if they break the code of conduct, and they won't want that, also a lot of researchers are either employed casually or self-employed so simply wouldn't get work if they were breaking the rules. In these cases a simple no will usually be fine. The issue of sales masquerading as market research is different but don't forget any genuine research is confidential (MRS rules) and any genuine research agency would mention the MRS so you can check who they are. But if you don't want to do it, simply decline politely.

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The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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