ADMA announce they are to start spot Checking Group Buying Sites in an attempt to provide better customer service among it's group buying code signatories. This is sure to be positive news for an industry that has more than it's fair share of customer service issues.
Full press release is below ... source ADMA press release 15/02/13
The Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) has amended the Code of Practice it launched for the group buying sector a year ago. The amended Code includes spot checks of group buying companies by the ADMA Code Authority and improved complaints handling processes for consumers.
â€œADMA became involved one year ago in writing a Code of Practice to set a best-practice benchmark for group buying and to increase consumer confidence in the sector,â€ said ADMA CEO Jodie Sangster.
â€œAustralians have proven enthusiastic about group buying deals, but there were some teething issues in this industry which is only a few years old. We need to ensure that group buying is a pleasant and stress-free experience for all -- consumers, merchants and the group buying platforms themselves,â€ she added.
The changes to the Group Buying Code of Practice include:
- new Code Authority powers to spot check group buying company compliance
- requirements for more detailed terms and conditions (no more surprises for consumers)
- tighter controls over how many vouchers are sold â€“ helping ensure merchants understand and can meet their obligations
- clear and unambiguous refund policies which must be readily accessible with each offer
- improved complaints handling with defined response times for queries and complaints (1 business day) to reduce consumer frustration
- defined complaint resolution timeframes set at 10 working days -- unless there is a reasonable expectation the process will take longer -- but no more than 30 days.
Acting Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Phil D'Adamo welcomes the group buying industry working to improve their practices.
â€œAustralian Consumer Law (ACL) regulators have worked closely with the industry association to improve practices in the sector and to reduce consumer and business detriment,â€ Mr Dâ€™Adamo said.
"As part of a national project on group buying led by Consumer Affairs Victoria, ACL regulators reviewed the industry code and suggested a number of improvements."
"I commend the group buying industry for releasing a new code incorporating many of the suggestions of ACL regulators. The changes should have a positive impact for both consumers and businesses."
"We are pleased to have seen a significant drop in the number of complaints against a number of major group buying companies but are concerned that some group buying businesses continue to feature prominently in complaints to some ACL regulators. We will continue to monitor the industryâ€™s compliance and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when necessary."
Tobias Teuber, Groupon International VP APAC & CEO ANZ, said of the code:
â€œAt Groupon Australia, there is nothing more important than our customer's happiness and we welcome the changes to the Code of Practice which set stricter standards to further protect Australian consumers and increase confidence in the industry."
â€œGroupon always trades in accordance with the code and is unreservedly committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and employing best-practice processes which continues to set us apart from other players in the group buying market.â€
The founding group buying signatories who are still signed up to the code are Cudo, Groupon, LivingSocial, OurDeal, Deals.com.au, Ouffer and Scoopon.
Spreets, an original signatory, has changed its business model and will no longer be a signatory to the code.
Code Authority to conduct spot checks
The Group Buying Code is enforced by an independent complaints handling body, the ADMA Code Authority. The Code Authority will now conduct spot checks on the websites of group buying sites to ensure compliance.
â€œThis will help group buyers if there are problems with their offers. We can review them and tell them what the issues are before they get into a complaints driven situation,â€ said Jodie.
The Code Authority comprises five members: an independent chairman, two consumer representatives and two industry representatives.
The Group Buying Code of Practice was developed on a voluntary basis to help to demonstrate the industryâ€™s commitment to high ethical standards and best practice, and to increase consumer confidence in purchasing from group buying companies.
Signatories can be identified by the Group Buying Code Member logo which will be on their websites and offers. They have 60 days to display the logo and comply with the changes to the code.