Are SMS messages to customers spam?

The Privacy Commissioner has pointed out recently (see this Information Sheet) that the privacy consent you obtain from a member on signing up or on applying for a loan may not permit you to send unsolicited commercial email messages ("spam") to the member. SMS messages can be spam.

The Spam Act requires that commercial electronic messages, except where designated as "exempt", meet three conditions. They must:

  • be sent with the consent of the recipient
  • identify the sender
  • include a functional unsubscribe mechanism.

You need to look at the terms of your privacy consent carefully. Does it cover the type of message you are sending?

Does the message identify you? Does it include your ABN and how you can be contacted?

Does it have an unsubscribe mechanism? In the case of SMS messages, does it clearly say how the customer can stop the messages or give an 1800 number to unsubscribe? The mechanism must be functional for at least 30 days after the message was sent and a request to unsubscribe must be actioned within 5 working days.

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