Optus fined $504K for spamming consumers

Monday, 03 February, 2020

Optus fined $504K for spamming consumers

Singtel Optus has been fined $504,000 after an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation uncovered a number of ‘significant’ spam law breaches. 

It’s the second largest sum paid to the ACMA for an infringement notice and the largest paid for spamming, according to the Authority. 

Optus sent SMS and email marketing messages to unsubscribed consumers between 1 June and 4 December 2018, ACMA said. 

The company also failed to include an ‘unsubscribe’ option in some of its billing notices, ACMA found.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said large e-marketers need to listen to consumers and respect their decision to unsubscribe. 

The fine “reflects the seriousness of breaches made by Optus and its failure to honour its customers’ wishes to unsubscribe, in some cases on multiple occasions”, O’Loughlin said.

“Australians find spam infuriating and as a regulator it is something we are actively cracking down on.”

Optus will complete a court-enforceable undertaking to ensure its future compliance with the Spam Act, ACMA said.

“Specifically, Optus has committed to appoint an independent consultant to review its systems, policies and procedures for compliance with spam rules,” ACMA explained. 

“The undertaking should significantly reduce the risk of ongoing non-compliance; however, the ACMA will be actively monitoring Optus’s compliance with its commitments,” O’Loughlin added.

“If they are not met, the ACMA will consider court action.”

Optus has agreed to report all identified non-compliance to the ACMA for the term of the undertaking, the Authority said.

Over the last 18 months, businesses have paid a total of $1,127,700 in infringement notices to the ACMA for breaking spam and telemarketing laws.

Breaching Australia’s spam rules can see the ACMA seek a civil penalty and/or injunction from the Federal Court, give an infringement notice, accept a court-enforceable undertaking or issue a formal warning. Repeat corporate offenders may face penalties of up to $2.1 million a day, ACMA warned. 

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ant

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