The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ordered Optus to pay a $504,000 penalty, for “significant breaches of spam laws”.
ACMA’s investigation looked into an SMS and email marketing campaign by the telco between 1 June and 4 December 2018.
ACMA found Optus continued to flood consumers with messages, even if they had unsubscribed. Additionally, Optus was also found guilty of having sent notices that did not include an unsubscribe option.
“This is the second largest infringement notice that has ever been paid to the ACMA, and the largest paid for spamming,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
“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.
“Australians find spam infuriating and as a regulator it is something we are actively cracking down on.”
Optus has agreeed to appoint an independent consultant to review systems, policies and procedures for compliance with spam rules in light of the scandal.
ACMA has warned Optus it will find itself in court again if it fails to comply with spam laws.
“The undertaking should significantly reduce the risk of ongoing non-compliance, however the ACMA will be actively monitoring Optus’ compliance with its commitments,” O’Loughlin said.
“If they are not met, the ACMA will consider court action.”
The regulatory body revealed Australian businesses have paid in excess of $1.1 million in infringement notices over the past 18 months for breaking spam and telemarketing laws.
Optus’s penalty marks the biggest such penalty since Telstra was fined $510,000 in 2014 for failing to connect landline customers on time.
Optus vice president of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan apologised for the incident.
“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,” Sheridan told the Sydney Morning Herald.