Part G specifies that the Code shall be subject to an independent review on a regular basis by a review body comprising an independent chair and an equal number of industry and consumer/community representatives. In conducting the review, the review body is required to consult, where appropriate, with groups affected by the Code. The Code also authorises the Board to amend the Code. Once an amendment has been made, the Board is required to notify members and publicise those amendments.
To date no formal review has been conducted, however, the ACCC has conducted its own extensive review of the Code as part of its Authorisation process. Authorisation has since been granted which gives ADMA the freedom to impose sanctions on its members.
ADMA is an industry-funded body. Membership of ADMA costs direct marketers a fixed annual fee, which is determined by the member’s annual direct marketing revenue. Those companies that earn less than $750,000 in annual direct marketing revenue will need to pay an annual membership fee of $950 while those companies earning over $10 million will need to pay $15,0003.
ADMA does not levy any fees or charges on complainants with respect to the enforcement procedures, however all complainants must bear their own costs in making the complaint.
Given that direct marketers are themselves a diverse range of companies with a diverse range of business interests it is the case that many companies associated with the ADMA Code are also bound by other industry association codes. In this case it is generally up to the industries (except under co-regulatory schemes that make it a statutory requirement for a company to resolve a claim) to determine which body is best suited to handle a claim.
In addition, ADMA members are required to abide by any statutory requirements under the Trade Practices Act 1975, the Privacy Act 1988 and relevant State and Territory legislation. Of particular note are the Victorian Government’s recent changes to its fair trading laws. The changes were intended to ensure companies that are not members of ADMA are held to the same standards as members, however, ADMA claims that these laws have the potential to be inconsistent with the ADMA Code. ADMA has vowed to stay in close contact with the Victorian Department of Fair Trading to ensure that any fair trading related issues involving ADMA members are first dealt with through the association’s complaints handling procedures.