MR 13/2013 - 14 March 2013
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to online retailer, Groupon Australia Pty Ltd, for sending daily email newsletters without the consent of people interested in its deals.
Groupon uses newsletters to advertise or promote its deals of the day. By providing an email address to Groupon, individuals were typically subscribed to multiple newsletters which were sent to them either daily or weekly.
Complaints to the ACMA indicated that individuals who attempted to unsubscribe from the newsletters were only unsubscribed from one of them, and continued to receive other Groupon newsletters regularly every day or week.
The ACMA considered information provided by Groupon left it unclear what individuals were unsubscribing from. In the ACMA’s view, it was reasonable for individuals to expect they would be unsubscribed from all newsletters unless they were advised otherwise.
The ACMA also found that some unsubscribe requests made to Groupon were not actioned within the five business days required by the Spam Act.
In response to the ACMA’s investigation, Groupon has made the wording clearer on its website and in emails about unsubscribing from its newsletters. It has also implemented an account management system so that individuals can choose which email newsletters they wish to receive.
Consent to receive marketing emails is not "informed consent" if it is unclear what individuals are signing up to. The ACMA’s most recent e-marketing blog deals with the importance of gaining informed consent to receive e-marketing messages from potential customers.
If you receive a marketing email that you think may not comply with the Spam Act, you can report it to the ACMA’s Spam Intelligence Database by forwarding the message to email@example.com. You can forward SMS spam to the Spam SMS service on 0429 999 888.
More information is available in our Backgrounder. To arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spam Act 2003 regulates commercial electronic messaging in Australia. Commercial electronic messages can be emails, SMS messages, MMS messages, instant messaging messages or any other similar messages.
The Act sets outs that a commercial electronic message must have the following features:
Consent – it must be sent with the recipient's consent. A recipient may give express consent, or consent may be inferred from their conduct and existing business or other relationships
Identify – it must contain accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message
Unsubscribe – it must contain a functional "unsubscribe" facility to allow the recipient to opt-out from receiving messages from that source in the future.
The recent e-marketing blog explains the importance of making sure your subscribers know what to expect from you and how this can positively impact your business’ reputation.
The e-marketing blog is a key part of the ACMA’s campaign—‘Successful e-marketing…it’s about reputation’—which highlights that e-marketing to recipients who do not want to receive your messages is not a successful business strategy. To sign up for the blog and to get further information about ‘Successful e-marketing…it’s about reputation,’ go to www.spam.acma.gov.au.