Penalty for not processing spam unsubscribe requests

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that TPG Internet Pty Limited (TPG Internet) has paid a $360,000 infringement notice following an ACMA investigation into breaches of the Spam Act 2003.

The ACMA investigation followed complaints from consumers that they had unsubscribed from receiving commercial electronic messages from TPG Internet but continued to receive such messages.

The ACMA identified that TPG’s systems were not properly processing unsubscribe requests during April 2017. This meant that TPG contravened subsection 16(1) of the Act by sending SMS commercial electronic messages to consumers who had withdrawn their consent by unsubscribing.

Commercial electronic messages must not be sent without the consent of the account holder. Consent can be express (for example, signing up to a mailing list), or inferred (such as through an existing business relationship). Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Commercial electronic messages must have a functional unsubscribe facility.

ACMA says it decided to issue an infringement notice to TPG Internet rather than commencing proceedings in the Federal Court as the company co-operated with the ACMA during the investigation, admitted the breach, and has taken steps to remedy the causes of the breaches.

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