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Doorstep selling tainted by ‘rogue practices’, but shouldn’t be banned

12 Aug 2011 4:47 BST Back
Doorstep selling tainted by ‘rogue practices’, but shouldn’t be banned
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The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has rejected renewed calls from Consumer Focus for the practice of doorstep selling by energy firms to be heavily regulated or banned.

Consumer Focus first demanded action to be taken following the exposure of energy companies using misleading sales techniques in door-to-door campaigns to persuade householders to switch energy suppliers.   

The watchdog has repeated its call after British Gas today (12 August) announced that it will be suspending doorstep selling for three months in response to Consumer Focus’s demand for a moratorium on the practice

The DMA has stated that wrongful actions and ‘rogue practices’ of a few companies has severely tarnished the image of door-to-door selling, but that heavy-handed regulation or an out-right ban are steps too far.

The DMA’s comments follow the results of its joint study with Toluna QuickSurveys into consumer experience of door-to-door energy supplier sales reps.

Of the 1,200 consumers aged 18-34 polled, 35 per cent said they had been door stepped by a sales rep from an energy company. Nearly half reported they thought what they were told by the sales person was ‘misleading’, and nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) said they found the sales person ‘untrustworthy’.

Commenting on behalf of the DMA, Steve Radford, chair of the DMA Field Marketing & Brand Experience Council and chief executive of FieldStar, said:

“The call for regulation or a total ban on doorstep selling sets a dangerous precedent that has ramifications for a whole industry. Any company employing dubious and illegal doorstep sales tactics deserves to have action taken against it. However, this should not be at the cost of strangling the door-to-door sales sector.

“The energy companies employing these rogue practices could have easily avoided exploiting consumers and breaking the law. As an industry, we have tried and tested standards of best practice that protect the consumer.

Radford adds:

“It’s down to the industry to keep its house in order. All companies that are DMA members uphold the highest standards of best practice; it’s up to the rest of the industry to follow our lead or pay the ultimate price.”

Tristan Garrick, DMA PR manager
Tel. (020) 7291 3315

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