Outdoor Supacentre fined $300,000 for SMS spam

By AdNews | 31 January 2024

Four-wheel drive and camping accessory retailer Outdoor Supacentre has paid a $302,500 penalty for sending more than 83,000 marketing text messages in breach of Australian spam laws.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that between December 2022 and May 2023, Outdoor Supacentre sent 81,698 text messages to recipients without their consent and 1,575 texts to customers who had previously unsubscribed. 

In the 11 months prior to opening its formal investigation, the ACMA sent five spam compliance alerts to Outdoor Supacentre after receiving consumer complaints. 

ACMA member Samantha Yorke says the alerts serve as a warning that businesses may have compliance issues with their e-marketing systems.

"It’s disappointing that Outdoor Supacentre didn't take the opportunity to adequately address the problems before we had to step in,” Yorke says.

The spam rules require businesses to have consent from consumers to receive e-marketing messages. Messages must also contain an unsubscribe function. When a business receives an unsubscribe request, it must be actioned within five business days. 

As well as the financial penalty, the ACMA has also accepted a three-year court-enforceable undertaking from Outdoor Supacentre, committing it to appoint an independent consultant to review its compliance with spam rules and to make improvements where needed. Outdoor Supacentre must also report regularly to the ACMA.

Yorke says that Outdoor Supacentre used a third-party provider for elements of its marketing processes, but companies can’t outsource their compliance obligations.

“Any business that conducts e-marketing needs to follow the rules and the way you do that is by regularly reviewing your processes to ensure they remain within the law," she says.

Enforcement of the spam unsubscribe rules is one of the ACMA’s compliance priorities and over the last 18 months businesses have paid more than $12.5 million in penalties for breaches of the spam rules.

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