Thursday, 10 June 2010

OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy

OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy - 10/06/2010
OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy
The Office of Fair Trading is considering a more thorough review of data accuracy elements in its debt collection guidance, after an industry lobbying campaign.

The OFT’s much delayed review of its debt collection guidance is due to focus in part on the issue of data accuracy, specifically concerns where people are chased for debts on the basis of false or wrong information provided by creditors to debt collection companies.

The Credit Services Association has been lobbying the OFT to act more decisively, through its review, on data quality, tracing and creditors’ responsibilities.

After fears that the regulator might not have considered these concerns in sufficient depth, the CSA persuaded the OFT to take a much more comprehensive review of responsibilities over data quality and seek feedback from major trade bodies. The OFT was previously believed to be conducting only a minor update to its guidance.

Peter Wallwork (pictured), chief executive of the CSA and Debt Buyers & Sellers Group (DBSG), said the OFT’s decision to consult with major stakeholders has been largely achieved through the association’s continued dialogue with the regulator.

Tracing remains one of the toughest challenges for debt collection agencies (DCAs) and an area that generates most complaints.

Wallwork said: "Unless and until the OFT confronts the issue of data accuracy, the businesses at the end of the collections cycle – notably our members – will continue to shoulder the blame for things that go wrong that are invariably beyond their control."

CSA members handle more than 15 million cases annually but not all of the information they receive about debtors is accurate.

The trade body said it is not uncommon for the information to contain an out-of-date address or an incorrect initial. This can result in a mis-trace that invariably means that innocent individuals are caught up in the process.

There is also no agreed mechanism for correcting that data so that if and when it is passed on to another agency, or an agency is pursuing multiple debts, the same mistake is not repeated.

Wallwork added: "Of course, the creditor cannot be held responsible for all data issues but there is still much they can do to help the process. We have actively lobbied for a full review to sort this issue once and for all.

"Why should the collections agency be blamed for the quality of data over which they have no control, and why should debtors be allowed to abscond without leaving their creditors a forwarding address?

"The OFT must tackle the issue the right way around and the association must encourage better data accuracy."

The review of the guidance, first mooted more than 12 months ago, is now not expected before July.

Source: Credit Today

Monday, 17 May 2010

National Change of Address Service Update

You may have already heard the announcement by Royal Mail of changes to their National Change of Address (NCOA) and Universal Suppression Service (USS) services. The old services will be withdrawn and replaced by two new services, NCOA Suppress and NCOA Update, from 1st July 2010. Both of the new services use data obtained from Royal Mail's Redirection service whereby consumers who have moved have mail addressed to their old house forwarded automatically to their new address. The redirection service typically operates for a period of between one and twelve months.
The NCOA Suppress file replaces the old USS service and provides gone-away suppression or permanent flagging. Redirection data only appears on this file when the redirection has expired.
The NCOA Update service allows new addresses to replace the old address or to be added to your file. Redirections that are active and those that have lapsed will appear on this file although not all redirections will be present as customers may opt out when they complete Royal Mail's Redirection form.
Royal Mail require that all users of the new services sign an End User Licence (EUL) before they can use the service. Unfortunately, even if you have signed an EUL for the old service it will still be necessary to sign the new EUL.
The good news is that CNM is ready to implement the new services as soon as the new files are ready. If you are a regular user of NCOA from CNM then you will not notice the changeover apart from the signing the new EUL.
UPDATE: The new NCOA files will not be available from Royal Mail until 12 July. The old services will be in use until then.

CNM Development Team

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Free Data Audit


There aren't many things in life that are FREE!

However if you send us your data for an audit we automatically provide you with a free data audit report to detail any issues that we find with your data.
The audit is Free with no obligation to purchase and normally takes just a few hours.

So if you want something  for free that can really help your business and give you an insight into your data, don't hesitate to contact us.

CNM Data Cleansing


CNM Team

Friday, 16 April 2010

What is Data Cleansing?

Data Cleansing is the process for ensuring that data sets are accurate and consistent. The term Data Cleansing covers a very broad range of data processing stages and involves various other databases and data sets to establish the accuracy of data.

One of the first processes that takes place in data cleansing is to check and update the addresses to ensure that they are Postcode Address File (PAF) compliant. Once we have updated all the addresses to make them as accurate as possible we now load the file into a our de-duplication system which finds any duplicated records and removes them into a separate file.

Now we have a unique file with an up-to-date and accurate set of addresses for each of our records we can begin to check the names against the addresses to ensure that the person still resides at the given address. If it is found that the person has moved addresses we will overwrite the old address with the new address and no change is made if the person is living at the address stated.

Now we have confirmed that the people in the dataset reside at the appropriate address we also need to ensure that they have not died recently. This is a very important stage of Data Cleansing as contacting the relatives of people who have just died is not only upsetting to the recipient but is also brand damaging. To check for deceased the file is checked against a national database registry of the deceased.

So to recap so far we have checked the addresses are correct, that the person in each record resides at the given address and ensured that they are still living.

So what's next, well that all depends on how you keep in touch with your clients. If you send out regular mailings then the above is adequate for your needs, but if you plan on contacting them by telephone we need to ensure that the telephone numbers are accurate. In order to add or update telephone numbers in the dataset we need to check them against a database that contains all of the phone numbers within the UK. The numbers are matched by name and address and in most cases only the surname is required.

I hope that gives you some insight into how data cleansing work, please keep checking back on this post as it will be updated regularly.

You can read more here: What is Data Cleansing


CNM Team

.tel site goes live

Hi All,

Just to announce that our site has now gone live, please give us a visit and let us know what you think.

A new blog coming soon to let you all no how to create your own .tel site.

Thanks for reading
CNM Development Team

Security: Zeus botnet exploits unpatched PDF flaw

Researchers spot first widespread attack using Reader, Acrobat design flaw

The Zeus botnet is now using an unpatched flaw in Adobe's PDF document format to infect users with malicious code, security researchers said today.

The attacks come less than a week after other experts predicted that hackers would soon exploit the "/Launch" design flaw in PDF documents to install malware on unsuspecting users' computers.

Zeus botnet exploits unpatched PDF flaw

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Get a Free Data Audit

Free Data Audit The quality of your customer database is continually degenerating, by carrying out a Free Data Audit we are able to analyse the quality of your data and identify any quality issues.  These may include:
  1. Duplicate Records
  2. Deceased Records
  3. Gone-Away Records
  4. Inaccurate Addresses & Postcodes
  5. Registration to Preference Services
We will provide you with a detailed report and further explanation of our findings.  We can also give you an idea of cost savings and ways to minimise potential damage to brand image by mailing to those who have registered to receive no mailings, or those deceased.
By maintaining the quality of your mailing or customer database, it allows you to:
  1. Verify Contact Details
  2. Improve Sales
  3. Enhance Data Accuracy
  4. Improve Address Quality
  5. Remove Out Of Date and Duplicate Records
To find out more about this and other services that we offer please use our enquiry form or visit our contacts page for further contact information.
Click here to view a sample of our Data Audit. (pdf doc)