Code of Ethics, and laws


For relevant direct marketing legislation and guides go here 

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice 

Self Regulation

The Direct Marketing Association of SA (DMASA) is an independent body set up and paid for by companies in the direct marketing industry to ensure that its system of self-regulation works in the public interest. Responsibility for observing the Code rests primarily with the individual companies who sign an acknowledgment of compliance when joining the Association.

While the interpretation of the Code is vested in the Association’s Legal and Trade Practice Committee, the performance of this task is supervised by the Board of Directors.  The Association maintains close contact with government departments, consumer organizations and trade associations, and deals with complaints received through them or direct from the public. Complaints
Consumers who feel that they have grounds for complaint under the terms of this Code against a direct marketing company, whether or not a member of the Direct Marketing Association, should write in the first instance to the firm concerned, quoting all relevant details. If attempts to reach a satisfactory conclusion fail, the consumer has the right to refer his complaint in writing to the Association. Complaints from members of the public that the Code has been breached should be addressed to the Association.  All that is necessary is a letter indicating the basis of the complaint.  It is helpful if complainants can, wherever possible, provide copies of the transactions and full details of the steps already taken to resolve the complaint.  Advice is willingly given by telephone to prospective complainants but investigations will not be undertaken without written confirmation from the complainant. Complaints should be addressed to The Ombudsman, The Direct Marketing Association of SA.

All complaints will be dealt with as expeditiously as possible.  Delays may, however, occur where it is necessary to obtain further information. Members will co-operate with the Association in seeking an equitable solution to problems referred to the Association.

The Purpose of the Code

Direct Marketing is a well-established and accepted marketing medium.  As such the communication with the potential customers should be factual, honest, decent and informative, and should not violate any of the laws of the country. The main purpose of the Code is twofold.  

  • For those in direct marketing it lays down criteria for professional conduct.  
  • And for the public it gives a clear indication of the self-imposed limitations accepted by those using or working in direct marketing.  Its rules form the basis for arbitration where there is a conflict of interest within the business, or between companies and the general public.

One may ask: with legislation protecting the consumer from dishonest and fraudulent trading practices, is there any need for a Code of Practice?  The answer is an emphatic yes - for three reasons.

  1. First, legal controls are not adapted to distinguish between direct marketing companies which live up to the best professional standards, and those which do not.  This is the concern of direct marketing companies themselves.  And this is why they have voluntarily adopted a code of conduct to maintain the standards of fair dealing and honest trading that the community is entitled to expect.  They believe that professional regulations, voluntarily applied, can ensure the elimination of dubious practices more speedily and less costly than government legislation; they are also more easily adaptable to changing economic and social conditions.
  2. The second reason for a self-regulatory Code is that all concerned agree to observe it in the broad spirit as well as in the letter, and not to circumvent it by dubious ingenuity.  All accept a straightforward obligation to the public and to one another.  Direct Marketing companies also recognize that continued observance of the Code does much to advance the standing of direct marketing as an essential element in the marketing of goods and services and thus promote goodwill and understanding between them and the Consumers.
  3. Thirdly a Code of Practice can maintain standards in an area of communication which defies legal definition - that of good and honest business practices.
Name Date Size
DMASA Code of Conduct 2018 390KB
DMASA Code on Principled Marketing Final 2019 4.39MB
DMASA Overlap Matrix  2019 202.51KB
Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) 2019 359.24KB

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