Direct Marketing


ArticleC1 – The offer

The fulfilment of any obligation arising from a direct marketing activity should be prompt and efficient.

Whenever an offer is made, all the commitments to be fulfilled by the marketer, theoperator and the consumer should be made clear to consumers, either directly or by reference to sales conditions available to them at the time of the offer.

When presenting the offer, any font which, by its size or any other visual characteristic, is likely to materially reduce or obscure the legibility and clarity of the offer should be avoided.

Wherever appropriate, the essential points of the offer should be simply and clearly summarised together in one place. Essential points of the offer may be clearly repeated, but should not be scattered throughout the promotional material.


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ArticleC2 – Presentation

The terms of any offer should be clear, so that the consumer may know the exact nature of the product being offered.

When the presentation of an offer also features products not included in the offer, or where additional products need to be purchased to enable the consumer to use the product on offer, this should be made clear in the original offer.

High-pressure tactics which might be construed as harassment should be avoided, and, marketers should ensure that they respect local culture and tradition to avoid offensive questions.


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ArticleC3 – Right of withdrawal

Where consumers have a right of withdrawal (the consumer’s right to resend any goods to the seller, or to cancel the order for services, within a certain time limit and thus annulling the sale), the marketer should inform them of the existence of this right, how to obtain further information about it, and how to exercise it.

Where there is an offer to supply products to the consumer on the basis of “free examination”, “free trial”, “free approval” and the like, it should be made clear in the offer who will bear the cost of returning  products and the procedure for returning them should be as simple as possible. Any time limit for the return should be clearly disclosed.


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ArticleC4 – After-sales service

When after-sales service is offered, details of the service should be included in the terms of any guarantee, or stated elsewhere in the offer.
If the consumer accepts the offer, information should be supplied on how to activate the service and communicate with the service agent.


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ArticleC5 – Identity of the marketer

The identity of the marketer and/or operator and details of where and how they may be contacted should be given in the offer, so as to enable the consumer to communicate directly and effectively with them.
This information should be available as a permanent reference which the consumer can keep, i.e. via a separate document offline, an online document, email or SMS; it should not, for example, appear only on an order form which the consumer is required to return.
At the time of delivery of the product, the marketer’s full name, address and telephone number should be supplied to the consumer.


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ArticleC6 – Unsolicited products

Products for which payment is expected should not be delivered without an order.

See also General Provisions, article 21 – Unsolicited products and undisclosed costs.


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ArticleC7 – Promotional incentives

Direct marketing which makes use of promotional incentives should comply with the relevant provisions of chapter A, Sales Promotion.


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ArticleC8 – Safety and health

Products, including, where applicable, samples, should be suitably packaged for delivery to the customer – and for possible return – in compliance with the appropriate health and safety standards.


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ArticleC9 – Fulfilment of orders

Unless otherwise stipulated in the offer, orders should be fulfilled within 30 days of receipt of the order from the consumer.
The consumer should be informed of any undue delay as soon as it becomes apparent.
In such cases, any request for cancellation of the order by the consumer should be granted, even when it is not possible to prevent delivery, and the deposit, if any, should be refunded immediately.


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ArticleC10 – Substitution of products

If a product becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the control of the marketer or operator, another product may not be supplied in its place unless the consumer is informed that it is a substitute and unless such replacement product has materially the same, or better, characteristics and qualities, and is supplied at the same or a lower price.
In such a case, the substitution and the consumer’s right to return the substitute product at the marketer’s expense should be explained to the consumer.


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ArticleC11 – Return of faulty or damaged products

The cost of return of products which are faulty, or damaged other than by the consumer, is the responsibility of the marketer, provided the consumer gives notice within a reasonable period of time.


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ArticleC12 – Prices and credit terms

Whether payment for the offer is on an immediate sale or instalment basis, the price and terms of payment should be clearly stated in the offer, together with the nature of any additional charges (such as postage, handling, taxes, etc.) and, whenever possible, the amount of such charges.

In the case of sales by instalment, the credit terms, including the amount of any deposit or payment on account, the number, amount and periodicity of such instalments and the total price compared with the immediate selling price, if any, should be clearly shown in the offer.

Any information needed by the consumer to understand the cost, interest and terms of any other form of credit should beprovided, either in the offer or when the credit is offered.

Unless the duration of the offer and the price are clearly stated in the offer, prices should be maintained for a reasonable period of time.


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ArticleC13 – Payment and debt collection

The procedure for payment and debt collection should be such as to avoid undue inconvenience to the consumer, making due allowance for delays outside the consumer’s control.

Debtors should not be approached in an unreasonable manner and debt collection documents which might be confused with official documents should not be used.


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ArticleC14 – Respecting consumer wishes

Where consumers have indicated the wish not to receive direct marketing communications by signing on to a preference service, or in any other way, this should be respected.
Marketers who are communicating with consumers internationally should, where possible ensure that they avail themselves of the appropriate preference service in the markets to which they are addressing their communications and respect consumers’ wishes not to receive such communications (see also General Provisions, article 19, data protection and privacy).

Where a system exists, enabling consumers to indicate a wish not to receive unaddressed mail (e.g. mailbox stickers), this should be respected.


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ArticleC15 – Use of electronic media

Direct marketing communications sent via electronic media should include a clear and transparent mechanism enabling the consumer to express the wish not to receive future solicitations.

Unsolicited direct marketing communications sent via electronic media may be sent only where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the consumer who receives such communications will have an interest in the subject matter or offer.


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ArticleC16 – Use of telemarketing

C 16.1 – Disclosures
The following provisions apply specifically to telemarketing:

Outbound calls

1.    When calling a consumer, telemarketers should:

  • promptly state the name of the marketer they represent;
  • unambiguously state in the beginning the purpose of the call;
  • politely terminate the call when it becomes apparent that the recipient is not competent to complete the call, or does not wish to take the call, or is a child (unless the telemarketer receives permission from an appropriate adult to proceed with the call).

2.    When a telemarketer calls a consumer who has a device with a number display facility, the consumer should be able to identify the number of the company that is calling.

All calls

3.    Before closing the call, the telemarketer should ensure that the consumer is informed and aware of the nature of any agreement reached, and of any steps that will be taken following the call.

Where a sale agreement is claimed to have been concluded, the consumer should be fully aware of the essential points of the contract. These include, as a minimum:

  • the main characteristics of the product;
  • where products are to be supplied permanently or for an ongoing period, the minimum duration of the contract;
  • the price of the product, including any additional costs (e.g. delivery and/or handling charges and any tax which the consumer may have to pay);
  • the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance;
  • any right of withdrawal to which the consumer is entitled.

Where the call leads, not to a sale, but to further contact by a marketer, the telemarketer should inform the consumer that there will be a subsequent contact. If data supplied by the consumer are to be used for any non-obvious purpose, i.e. a purpose which has not already been disclosed, the telemarketer should explain this purpose to the consumer in accordance with the General Provisions on data protection (article 19).

C 16.2 – Reasonable hours
Unless the recipient has expressly requested otherwise, outbound calls should be made only during hours which are generally regarded as reasonable for the recipient.

C 16.3 – Right to written confirmation
Where a call results in an order, the consumer has the right to receive confirmation, in writing or durable format, of the detailed terms of the contract, in due time and at the latest at the time of delivery of the goods or at the commencement of the delivery of the services. Confirmation should include all the information specified in article C3 (Right of withdrawal) and article C5 (Identity of the seller) and, where appropriate, any other information specified in this chapter.

C 16.4 – Monitoring of conversations
Monitoring, including recording, of conversations made for telemarketing purposes should be conducted only with appropriate safeguards, in order to verify the content of the call, to confirm a commercial transaction, for training purposes and for quality control. Telemarketers should be made aware when monitoring is taking place and consumers should be informed, as early in the call as is practicable, of the possibility of monitoring.

No recorded conversation should be presented to a public audience without the prior consent of both participants.

C 16.5 – Unlisted numbers
Consumers with an unlisted number should not be contacted for any commercial purpose, unless the number was supplied by the consumer to the marketer or operator.

C 16.6 – Use of automatic dialling equipment
Where a predictive dialler is used, if no telemarketer is immediately available to take the call generated by the dialler, the equipment should abandon the call and release the line in not more than one second.

Other automatic dialling equipment may be used to contact a consumer only where the call is initially introduced by a telemarketer, or where the consumer has expressly agreed to receive such calls without telemarketer intervention.

Neither a predictive dialler nor any other automatic dialling equipment may be used unless the equipment immediately disconnects when the consumer hangs up. Dialling equipment should release each time before connecting to another number.


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ArticleC17 – Responsibility

Overall responsibility for all aspects of direct marketing activities, whatever their kind or content, rests with the marketer.

However, responsibility, as defined in article 23 of the General Provisions, also applies to other participants in direct marketing activities and that needs to be taken into account. As well as marketers, these may include:

  • operators, telemarketers or data controllers, or their subcontractors, who contribute to the activity or communication;
  • publishers, media-owners or contractors who publish, transmit or distribute the offer or any other communication.


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Advertising and marketing
communication practice

Consolidated ICC Code

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