Code for the Distribution of Unaddressed Printed Advertisements (Code VOR)
DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
In this Code the following definitions apply:
a. Advertising: any public and/or systematic direct or indirect commendation of goods, services or ideas (together referred to as: products). The soliciting of services is also considered advertising.
b. Advertising printed matter: any printed matter which consists wholly or partly of advertising, with the exception of free distribution newspapers (free local papers).
c. Samples: goods or samples of goods which are distributed without any consideration, for the purpose of commending them.
d. Unaddressed advertising printed matter: printed advertising and/or samples which are distributed door-to-door free of charge without mention of the address (or post office box) of the recipient.
e. Free local papers: unaddressed printed matter which is distributed door-to-door free of charge at regular intervals in a geographically limited area and of which at least 10% of the contents consists of information and news, but no advertising, about the area of distribution in question, and which in addition also contains advertising messages.
• in the case of unaddressed printed advertising material: the person or persons mentioned as sender on the unaddressed printed advertising material;
• in the case of free local papers: the publisher mentioned in the paper concerned.
g. Distributor: the organization which distributes – or causes to be distributed – the unaddressed printed advertising material or the free local papers on behalf of the sender.
Explanation of Article 1.1.a
The term ‘advertising’ as defined in the Code means any public and/or systematic direct or indirect commendation irrespective of its origin. Thus no distinction is made whether an advertising message comes from a government agency, a non-profit organization or a company.
If the message has no character of commendation, it is not considered advertising. This is the case, for example, in the distribution of purely factual information, which is generally also designated by the word ‘information’. Whether or not a given message is advertising, is determined ultimately by the Advertising Code Committee and the Board of Appeal. The expression ‘soliciting of services’ refers to the recruitment of personnel or outworkers.
Explanation of Article 1.1.d
Advertising is unaddressed if the address of the recipient (post office box or home address) and city is not stated. It is not important whether a name is included in an address; printed advertising that is addressed to “the occupant of” a specific address is therefore considered to be “addressed”.
It shall be borne in mind, however, that such printed matter does fall within the scope of the Advertising Code for the Use of the Postal Filter and article 14 of the Code Letterbox Advertising, Door-to-door Sampling and Direct Response Advertising, so that the person who has registered himself with the National Register of Deceased Persons or respectively the Post Register has
reported in writing to the sender that he does not wish to receive unaddressed advertising shall also not receive printed matter that does not state his name but is directed to his address.
Explanation of Article 1.1.e
A free local paper differs from other newspapers in that it contains news and information about the area where it is distributed, besides advertising and possibly more general news. The relatively low percentage of 10% has been chosen deliberately.
The sender shall identify himself as such, so that he is readily accessible to the recipient. The name and address of the sender shall be mentioned in the unaddressed printed advertising and free local paper; the mention of a post office box number alone is not sufficient.
Article 2 Stickers
The following stickers fall within the scope of this Code:
Sticker A: “NO UNADDRESSED PRINTED ADVERTISING MATERIAL, NO FREE LOCAL PAPERS” (NO/NO)
Sticker B: “NO UNADDRESSED PRINTED ADVERTISING MATERIAL, FREE LOCAL PAPERS ACCEPTED” (NO/YES)
as elaborated in the models included in Annex 1 of this Code.
The purpose of sticker A: by putting sticker A on or in the immediate vicinity of his letter box the occupant or user of the building concerned indicates that he does not wish to receive unaddressed printed advertising material or free local papers.
The purpose of sticker B: by putting sticker B on or in the immediate vicinity of his letter box the occupant or user of the relevant building indicates that he does not wish to receive unaddressed printed advertising material but does wish to receive free local papers in his letter box.
Article 3 Compliance with stickers
Senders and distributors shall, both individually and in mutual consultation take all measures and provisions which are necessary:
• to ensure compliance with the wishes stated on the stickers referred to in Annex 1;
• for the further enforcement and implementation of this Code.
Senders and distributors shall keep count of the number of stickers used (or cause this to be done) and shall match the number of items of unaddressed printed advertising material and free local papers to this figure.
Article 4 Distribution and Publicising of Stickers
The parties to this Code shall ensure that enough A and B stickers as referred to in Annex 1, are available to the public free of charge.
Explanation of Article 4.1
The distribution of stickers is arranged through the municipality and by way of the special telephone number 0900-2025095 (25 cents per minute). The sticker can be collected by the recipient of unaddressed printed advertising and/or free local papers at the town hall or at municipal agencies that have a public function and have been designated by the municipality.
The quantity of stickers at a given location shall match the size of the population in the municipality concerned. The sticker can also be ordered by the recipient of unaddressed printed advertising material and/or free local papers by telephone, after which the stickers will be sent.
Parties to this Code shall ensure that the meaning and availability of the stickers is clearly brought to the attention of the public.
Explanation of Article 4.2
A PR plan has been developed for the introduction of the sticker system, which is intended to bring the sticker system effectively to the attention of interested parties.
Article 5 Complaints
Any person who thinks he received unaddressed printed advertising material and/or free local papers in spite of the sticker being attached may complain in writing to this effect to the sender and/or distributor. The recipient of the complaint is obliged to investigate the complaint and to inform the complainant in writing within four weeks of the results of this investigation. Should the complaint be addressed to the sender, the latter shall, on first request, disclose the name and address of the distributor.
Explanation of Article 5
The right to complain applies to the stickers referred to in Annex 1. For resolution of complaints, contact should first be made by telephone with the sender or distributor. If the complainant desires to submit a complaint to the Advertising Code Authority, as provided in Article 6, he should complain in writing to the sender or distributor. In this case, both sender and distributor shall be assumed to be parties to the procedure as stipulated in Article 6.1. In the event of a procedure with the Advertising Code Authority, the complainant shall be able to submit a copy of the written complaint sent to the sender and/or distributor.
Article 6 Supervision and Sanctions
Any complainant who has not been informed in time pursuant to Article 5 or considers the handling of his complaint unsatisfactory may then lodge a complaint with the Advertising Code Authority in accordance with its Articles and Regulation. In the absence of a prompt response by the sender (or distributor, as the case may be) the complaint shall be lodged no later than four weeks after the lapse of the period described in article 5 and, in the event of an objection to a response received, within four weeks of receipt of the response, unless complainant can demonstrate that he could not reasonably have met this deadline.
Explanation of Article 6.1
The point of departure is that the complainant has four weeks for the second step of the complaint procedure. Should he exceed this period, he shall demonstrate that he was prevented from responding in time by, for example, illness, holidays or otherwise.
Should a complaint be allowed, the sanctions referred to in Articles 17 and 18, of the Regulation concerning the Advertising Code Committee and the Board of Appeal shall apply.
Should a complaint be allowed, the Advertising Code Committee or the Board of Appeal may indicate whether the infringement of the Code is to be attributed to the sender or the distributor or both.
Article 7 Entry into Force
This Code went into force 1 January 1993 and was revised 1 January 2004.