DM consortium to stop dead letters

Helen Barrett

A non-profit data-sharing consortium that aims to stop direct mail being sent to the dead has identified 1.2 million names of deceased people on its lists since it began operating in May.

Members of the Stop Dead Consortium have agreed to pool resources by identifying people from their customer databases who have died, then sharing their names with other members so they can update their mailing lists.

Members including charities such as Age Concern and Help the Aged, and companies such as Norwich Union and Reader's Digest, pay a fee to share the information held on the OBiT database. The consortium claims that the fee to members is less than the cost of commercial alternatives.

"We are trying to stop the bereaved getting mail, which can be very distressing," said Andrew Reid, spokesman for the consortium.

"Charities pass on lists in reciprocal arrangements, but they are not always in a position to buy suppression data, which is how problems can build up."

So far, five of the eight founder members have shared their files. The consortium expects to announce a boost to its database when its largest member, Norwich Union, contributes its data next month.

The consortium is inviting organisations to join the scheme and contribute their own data to the OBiT database. It is set to announce the addition of new members, who will be sharing their data from next month.

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