Singtel Optus has paid an AUD $504,000 infringement notice, following an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) probe that found "significant breaches of spam laws."
The notice is the ACMA's second-largest and its largest ever for spamming. It's the outcome of an investigation into incidents dating between June and December 2018, where Optus was found to have continued to send marketing texts and emails to Australian consumers even after they had unsubscribed from receiving them. The probe also uncovered emails sent to consumers as billing notices with no ability to unsubscribe.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the notice "reflects the seriousness of breaches made by Optus and its failure to honour its customers’ wishes to unsubscribe, in some cases on multiple occasions," adding that large email marketers need to listen to and respect consumers choices.
The release noted that Optus, along with the payment, has now committed to having an independent consultant review its policies and procedures to comply with spam rules in future as part of a court enforceable undertaking that the ACMA will monitor. If the terms are not met, ACMA states it will consider court action.
Optus will also report to ACMA about all identified non-compliance throughout the undertaking.
Breaking ACMA's spam rules can result in civil penalties and/or infringement notices, court enforceable undertakings or formal warnings, with repeat corporate offenders subject to penalties of up to AUD $2.1 million a day.
ACMA says businesses have paid a total of AUD $1.13 million over the past 18 months for breaking spam and telemarketing laws.