Woolies contacts me to tell me that they know I don’t want to be contacted…


Here’s the relevant bits of a letter I received from Woolworths’ WRewards Team earlier this week:

Dear Mr Thousand,

If you’re wondering [why we haven’t contacted you] you’re on the Direct Marketing Association’s “Don’t contact me” register, and as a member of the DMA, we respected your wishes not to receive any marketing material from us.

However… we’ve decided that from from now everyone with a MySchool card will automatically receive all the benefits for their tier level as well as important Woolworths information.

If you would still prefer NOT to receive any communication from us, all you need to do is call [telephone number] or email [email address] to opt out, and we won’t contact you.

Kind regards,

The WRewards Team

Yes, I’m on the DMA’s “Don’t contact me” register and you can argue the alleged benefits of that service all you like – especially after that much publicised data leak last May. However, for the record, I get very little junk mail, very few junk SMSs and I seem to have been completely unaffected by last year’s oopsie. Look, the service works for me.

That said, it only works when DMA members respect my wishes. And I’m using the present tense there, unlike Woolworths’ “respected” in the letter above. I’ve yet to discover why they feel that they can disregard the rules of the DMA to inform me that they are disregarding the rules of the DMA.

Still, as they tell me, at least I have the option of not receiving any further communication by opting out via the methods given above. The thing that annoys me is that I was under the impression (as they were too) that I had already opted out of receiving any  communication from them in the first place.

And anyway, how far does this go? Once I have opted out (again) will they then contact me (again) against my wishes to tell me that they are contacting me (again) against my wishes to ask me (again) if I want them to not contact me?

I’ll be contacting Woolies and the DMA about this and I’ll contact you again soon to tell you what they say.

UPDATE (27th July):

Email from Woolies:

Recently, many of our customers who are on the DMA list have been complaining that they were not receiving their WRewards guaranteed benefits. By participating in WRewards they are entitled to receive their guaranteed benefits, but because they are registered with the DMA, we respected their wishes to not be contacted by us. This recent influx of requests from customers wanting to receive their benefits irrespective of their DMA status is the reason why you received the email you mention in your blog post.

The business took a view to communicate to all our customers on the DMA as a one-off intervention, to confirm that they do not want to receive further communication from Woolworths. We apologise for the situation and trust that this last piece of communication will resolve the issue.

If you would kindly confirm your opt out status you will receive no further communication from us, including WRewards benefits. You can do so by clicking on the opt out link in the original email or by calling 0861 50 20 50.

Hmm… ok. Three things here.

1. I can sort of understand now why they felt they should get in touch with me.
2. I still don’t think that they should have got in touch with me. That action blatantly disregards the rules of the DMA (whose code of conduct they signed up to) and also clearly ignores my wishes as someone who doesn’t want contacting, as they stated in the original letter.
3. That I have to opt out specifically from their ongoing communications is wrong. Having made the (incorrect) decision to make this “one-off intervention”, I should have to opt in if I want to hear from them, not be forced to opt out again.

I remain unimpressed.