Optus fined AU$504,000 for spamming Australians

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Singtel Optus Pty Limited has paid a $504,000 infringement notice after an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found significant breaches of spam laws. This is the second largest infringement notice ever paid to the ACMA.

The ACMA investigation found that between 1 June and 4 December 2018 Optus sent SMS and email marketing messages to consumers after they had unsubscribed.

The ACMA also found Optus sent commercial emails in the form of billing notices that did not include a unsubscribe facility.

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

“This is the second largest infringement notice that has ever been paid to the ACMA, and the largest paid for spamming,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“It reflects the seriousness of breaches made by Optus and its failure to honour its customers’ wishes to unsubscribe, in some cases on multiple occasions.

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

The ACMA has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Optus to help ensure its future compliance with the Spam Act. Specifically, Optus has committed to appoint an independent consultant to review its systems, policies and procedures for compliance with spam rules.

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

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

Optus has also undertaken to report to the ACMA about all identified non-compliance for the term of the undertaking.

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.

Breaches of Australia’s spam rules can result in the ACMA seeking a civil penalty and/or injunction from the Federal Court, giving an infringement notice, accepting a court enforceable undertaking or issuing a formal warning. Repeat corporate offenders may face penalties of up to $2.1 million a day.

For information about how to reduce unwanted communications or to report a breach visit the ACMA website.

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