Singtel Optus has paid a $504,000 infringement notice for sending marketing messages to unsubscribed consumers.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), between 1 June and 4 December 2018, Optus sent SMS and email marketing messages to consumers who had previously unsubscribed.
The telecommunications company also sent out commercial emails framed as billing notices that did not include any method to unsubscribe.
Nerida O’Loughlin, ACMA chair, said this was the largest infringement notice ever paid and the largest second-largest ever.
“It reflects the seriousness of breaches made by Optus and its failure to honour its customers’ wishes to unsubscribe, in some cases on multiple occasions,” O’Loughlin said.
“Australians find spam infuriating and as a regulator it is something we are actively cracking down on.”
To ensure Optus complies with the Spam Act in the future, the telco has appointed an independent consultant to review its systems, policies and procedures to make sure it doesn’t break any spam rules.
While ACMA believes the consultant should “signifianctly reduce” Optus’ chances of repeated infringement, O’Loughlin added that ACMA will be actively monitoring Optus’ future anti-spam commitments.
“If they are not met, the ACMA will consider court action,” she said.
The last 18 months has seen businesses pay a total of $1,127,700 to ACMA in spam- and telemarketing-related infringement notices.
Businesses that continue to breach Australia’s spam rules can see penalties of up to $2.1 million a day.
This is not the last time Optus has been fined for questionable business practices; in December 2019 Optus was ordered to pay $6.4 million for misleading mobile customers in 2018 about how their home broadband services would be disconnected despite having broadband services with other providers.