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Exclusive: ADMA revises group buying code of practice

Australia’s leading group buyers will today announce a revised industry Code of Practice in a move designed to help restore consumer confidence in the sector.

The new code, to be announced later this Friday by the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), includes a number of changes including: spot checks by the industry regulator, tighter controls over the sale of vouchers, improved complaints handling procedures and specified response and complaint handling times.

“Generally a self-regulatory code is complaint driven and so you wait for a complaint to come in and then you deal with it,” Jodie Sangster, CEO of ADMA told Encore.

“That often means you are trying to resolve the issue after the horse has bolted. This code means we can go out and check things so those backend complaints don’t happen.”

The new code is a clear attempt by ADMA and the industry to help restore confidence in group buying and demonstrate steps are being taken to deal with customer complaints which more than doubled in 2012.

“We do want to raise consumer confidence so they know we are proactively looking at this and they have someone to go to,” said Sangster.

“The companies involved are supporting this because there is a recognition we need to increase the standard and also a recognition that it will benefit their business.”

The first version of the group buying code of conduct launched at Mumbrella360 in 2011. Among the group buying websites to sign up to the new revised code of practice are Cudo, Groupon, LivingSocial, OurDeal, Deals.com.au, Ouffer and Scoopon. Spreets has left.

Groupon Australia CEO Tobias Teuber said the new code would help prevent some of the industry’s worst practices, such as overselling.

“The worst thing that can happen to us is that we oversell, because then the merchant cannot serve our customers. They are unhappy, the merchant is unhappy and we are unhappy,” said Teuber. “We now have more controls in our business where we do greater capacity planning in order we have capacity for all our customers. Our ACCC complaints declined 82 per cent in the last six months.”

Nic Christensen


This feature first appeared in the tablet edition of Encore. To download click on the links below.

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