Outdoor Supacentre Pty Ltd, trading as 4WD Supacentre, has copped a penalty of $302,500 for sending over 83,000 marketing text messages in breach of Australian spam laws.
An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed that between December 2022 and May 2023, Outdoor Supacentre sent 81,698 unsolicited text messages and 1,575 texts to customers who had previously opted out.
ACMA member Samantha Yorke said Australians are becoming increasingly frustrated about receiving commercial promotions from companies without their agreement. In the 11 months before opening its formal investigation, the ACMA sent five spam compliance alerts to Outdoor Supacentre after receiving consumer complaints.
“Businesses have a responsibility not to send unwanted spam and also to respect people’s wishes when they ask to stop receiving these messages,” Ms Yorke said. “The alerts serve as a warning that businesses may have compliance issues with their e-marketing systems, so it’s disappointing that Outdoor Supacentre didn’t take the opportunity to adequately address the problems before we had to step in.”
Under spam regulations, businesses must obtain consent from recipients before sending e-marketing messages and include an unsubscribe option. Any unsubscribe requests must be processed within five business days.
In addition to the penalty, ACMA has secured a three-year court-enforceable undertaking from Outdoor Supacentre. This commitment involves appointing an independent consultant to review compliance with spam regulations and making necessary improvements, with regular reporting to ACMA.
“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. Outdoor Supacentre used a third-party provider for elements of its marketing processes, but companies can’t outsource their compliance obligations,” Ms Yorke said.
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.