In a warning to businesses which engage in email marketing, telecommunications giant TPG has been fined by the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) for breaching the Spam Act 2003 (the Act).
Under the Act, businesses sending commercial electronic messages, such as e-newsletters and marketing emails, must comply with (amongst other things) three key requirements:
- you must have consent to send commercial electronic messages;
- each commercial electronic message you send must clearly identify the sender, including the ABN or ACN, address and phone number; and
- each electronic message you send must include a functional unsubscribe facility.
Breaches of the Act carry hefty penalties – up to $1.7 million per day, depending on the nature of the breach.
What did TPG do?
During the course of April 2017, the unsubscribe facility included in commercial electronic messages sent by TPG to its database was faulty. This meant that consumers who wanted to stop receiving TPG marketing emails, and clicked on the unsubscribe link contained in a marketing email from TPG, continued to receive marketing emails from TPG after they completed the unsubscribe process.
After receiving numerous complaints from affected consumers, ACMA conducted an investigation and determined that TPG’s unsubscribe facility was not properly processing unsubscribe requests. ACMA subsequently issued TPG with an infringement notice totalling $360,000.
ACMA issued an infringement notice, rather than instigating proceedings, as the company cooperated with ACMA during the course of its investigation and admitted that a breach had occurred. TPG has also taken steps to correct the problems leading to the breach.
It’s vitally important that businesses comply with all requirements of the Act, including ensuring that unsubscribe facilities included within their marketing messages are working properly at all times.
If you have any questions about privacy and spam law compliance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.