DIRECT NEWS: Direct marketers monitor Post Office trading practices

Direct marketing companies and mailing houses have got together to form an independent self-styled ’watchdog’ to monitor the Post Office’s trading practices.

Direct marketing companies and mailing houses have got together to

form an independent self-styled ’watchdog’ to monitor the Post Office’s

trading practices.



The initiative, led by WWAV Rapp Collins, the Lettershop Group, SR

Communications and Mailcom, follows the Government’s decision earlier

this year to allow the Post Office to enter into domestic joint ventures

(Campaign, 24 April).



John Watson, the group chairman of WWAV, had been spearheading a

campaign for an independent regulator before the Post Office was granted

greater freedom.



Watson said: ’The Department of Trade and Industry continues to say that

the issue of regulation is being dealt with in the Post Office

review.



But even if that review recommends greater commercial freedom under the

eye of an independent regulator, that regulator will not be in place for

18 months.’



The group wants a senior direct marketing industry person to head the

monitoring body, which will keep an eye on Post Office activities until

the Government appoints a watchdog of its own.



A statement from the consortium says the role of the person appointed

will be ’to press, question, harass and harangue the DTI and the Post

Office about plans and behaviour’. The group wants a regulator who will

operate in the same way that Oftel regulates the telecommunications

industry.



Robert Mayes, the group communications director of WWAV, added: ’We have

now hit a brick wall. Even though the DTI is in place to regulate the

system, a major criticism of the DTI is that it doesn’t understand the

direct marketing industry.’



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