NEWS15 July 2014

Sugging and frugging hotline launched by MRS

News UK

UK — The Market Research Society (MRS) is tackling ‘sugging’ and ‘frugging’ — selling and fundraising under the guise of research — with a dedicated phone line.

The hotline will allow organisations and members of the public to report unsolicited calls which contravene the MRS Code of Conduct.

The MRS is addressing the growing prevalence of traders and organisations using the guise of research as a means of generating sales or fundraising. A study by regulator Ofcom into nuisance calls found that consumers who experienced unwanted calls received around two per week on average.

Often referred to as ‘lifestyle surveys’, these unethical calls are used to lead respondents into the mistaken belief that the survey is genuine market research. The respondent is unaware that their information is often used to generate sales leads or sold on to a further commercial third party.

The sugging hotline, tel: 0800 975 9955 or email, means suspicious calls can be formally investigated. If a call is found to be in breach of the MRS Code of Conduct, the individual or organisation can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office or police as appropriate.

Jane Frost CBE, chief executive officer of MRS said: “We understand that it can be difficult to distinguish between genuine research and a sugging or frugging call.  Members of the public can feel confused, frustrated and even threatened by unsolicited calls.  The practice of sugging also undermines the value of true research which is an essential tool for the development of evidence-based policy and decision making.”