The importance of compliance with the Spam Act

  • Woolworths and Optus fined significant amounts for breaching the Spam Act.
  • Commercial electronic messages may only be sent if the requirements set out in the Spam Act are satisfied.
  • Businesses should be very careful in purchasing potential customer lists for sending electronic direct marketing.

In light of recent action taken against Woolworths and Optus for breaches of the Spam Act, businesses should ensure they have processes and procedures in place to comply with this legislation.

Action taken for breaches of the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act)

On 2 July 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it had fined Woolworths just over $1 million for five million breaches of the Spam Act and that Woolworths had also agreed to a three year court enforceable undertaking in relation to those breaches. The undertaking requires Woolworths to assess its processes and procedures and implement improvements. Woolworths’ breaches of the Spam Act arose from emails sent to consumers between October 2018 and July 2019, after those consumers had already unsubscribed. This is the largest fine that the ACMA has imposed for breaches of the Spam Act to date. 

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