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  • Regulator hits Optus with $504,000 fine for spamming customers
  • By Zoe Samios
  • 31/01/2020 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Peter_B ( 1 article in 2020 )
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Singtel Optus has been slapped with a $504,000 regulatory fine for breaching Australia's spam laws.

Optus paid the infringement notice – the second-largest fine ever imposed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority – after an investigation by the regulator found the telecommunications provider had breached laws by sending text messages and marketing emails to consumers who had unsubscribed from receiving such messages.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the regulator found more than 2 million contraventions in its investigation, with about 750,000 people receiving messages after they had unsubscribed.

Optus has paid $504,000 to the ACMA.

The ACMA investigation also found Optus was sending commercial emails in the form of billing notices that had no unsubscribe feature.

“It is a substantial infringement notice and it is the biggest one we’ve had under the spam act,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Optus put to us that it was a systems failure and we would say it was beyond an IT systems failure, it was a failure in terms of their compliance processes, systems, the governance of what they were doing. They were of the view that their marketing lists had all been checked for compliance and they were fine. We found they weren’t.”

The ACMA has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Optus, which will see the telecommunications provider appoint an independent consultant to review its systems, policies and procedures for compliance with spam rules. Optus will report all identified non-compliance to the ACMA for the duration of the undertaking.

In the last 18 months, the ACMA has been paid more than $1.1 million for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws.

Optus’ infringement notice is the biggest since 2014, when Telstra was issued a $510,000 fine for failing to connect new landline customers on time.

Andrew Sheridan, Optus' vice president of regulatory and public affairs, apologised to customers.

"We have committed to putting in place enhanced practices and systems to tighten the management of our marketing communications and will continue to work constructively with the ACMA on this matter," Mr Sheridan said.

Ms O’Loughlin said the latest infringement notice was a warning to all companies.

“It will send a clear message to all companies who do large direct marketing campaigns that we are ramping up our activities and making sure that they are compliant with the law and they should make sure ... their systems and processes deliver an outcome that is compliant with the spam act,” she said.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/regulator-hits-optus-with-504-000-fine-for-spamming-customers-20200130-p53w7v.html


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