Woolies Beats Optus With Record $1M+ Spam Fine
Local grocery giant Woolworths has copped over a million dollar fine from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for spam breaches – its largest infringement notice issued, ahead of Optus’ $504,000 penalty in January.
Woolworths’ whopping $1,003,800 fine follows over 5 million breaches of Australia’s anti-spam regulation, notched between October 2018 – July 2019.
Back in January, Optus was penalised for sending text messages and marketing emails to about 750,000 people after they have unsubscribed – around 2 million contraventions.
Woolworths was found to have sent marketing emails to customers even after they requested to unsubscribe, thereby contravening the local Spam Act 2003.
“The scale and prolonged nature of the non-compliance is inexcusable,” states ACMA chairman, Nerida O’Loughlin.
ACMA claims Woolworths failed to act even after it had issued of potential compliance issues stemming from consumer complaints.
Woolworths has since apologised for the failure, but adds many breaches were caused by households having separate rewards accounts and shared email addresses.
The retail conglomerate attributes many of the breaches to technical and systems issues which it claims to have fixed last year.
ACMA asserts an unsubscribe notice for an email address applies to all members who share the address.
The regulator claims many consumers had tried to unsubscribe, but Woolworths’ systems and processes failed to implement their request.
Woolworths is set to appoint an independent consultant to review its procedures and systems, prior to reporting to the ACMA.
The company has agreed to a “comprehensive” three-year court enforceable undertaking, and has paid its penalty fine.