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Spam Act: ACMA outlines unsubscribe best practice after issuing $1.5 million in fines

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a reminder to comply with Australia’s spam laws by allowing recipients to opt-out of receiving marketing messages.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said that its recent investigations have identified repeat failures by Australian businesses to comply with the Spam Act, resulting in over $1.5 million in penalties.

The ACMA found that the offenders continued to send messages after recipients had withdrawn consent. In some cases, people had attempted to withdraw many times.

ACMA said “These investigations highlight how even large businesses can fail to have effective systems and processes in place so that consumers can unsubscribe from e-marketing campaigns.”

ACMA enforcement action for breaching the Spam Act 2003 can include formal warnings, infringement notices, or even action in the Federal Court.

ACMA said that respecting customer’s wishes also makes good commercial sense.

To comply with the Spam Act, ACMA said that it is important to remember: 

  • E-marketers need to allow people to unsubscribe from their electronic mailing lists.
  • Businesses cannot ‘set and forget’ their compliance systems or outsource their risk to third parties.

Best practice ‘unsubscribe’ options:

  • present unsubscribe instructions clearly;
  • honour a request to unsubscribe within five working days;
  • do not require the payment of a fee;
  • do not cost more than the usual amount for using the address (such as a standard text charge);
  • are functional for at least 30 days after the message is sent.

Read more about how to comply with the Spam Act on ACMA’s website.

Read about the Niche Publishing Network’s top tips for email list management here.

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