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Updated: Optus apologises after copping $500k fine for spamming customers

By Nadia Cameron For CMO

31 January 2020

Commenting on the fine, Plexus senior solicitor, Sharmila Pamamull, said organisations all too often haven't put the precautionary measures in place necessary to ensure marketing messages are in compliance with the Spam Act.

“If a consumer chooses to ‘opt out’ of receipt of marketing messages, companies must have protocols in place so that further marketing messages are not sent to the consumer. Too often we find that non-functional unsubscribe facilities may be included in marketing messages and businesses will not have systems in place to track unsubscriptions," she told CMO.

Businesses also need to ensure they set up training for internal staff so they are aware of the main requirements of the Spam Act and have clear processes in place for compliance. The most notable requirements for compliance with the Spam Act include only sending marketing messages to consumers who consent; clearly identifying this in the messaging; and ensuring an unsubscribe facility that is clear, easy and functional.

Pamamull noted TPG was similarly required to pay a $360,000 infringement notice in 2017 for sending SMS messages to consumers who had withdrawn their consent by unsubscribing.

According to the ACMA, businesses have paid more than $1.1 million in infringement notices for breaking spam and telemarketing laws in the past 18 months. Breaches of spam laws can result in penalties of up to $2.1 million a day.

The largest ACMA infringement notice of $510,000 was issued to Telstra in 2014 for failures to connect customers’ phone lines fast enough following an annual assessment of compliance with the Customer Service Guarantee benchmarks.

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