Financial penalties for breaches of the legislation have recently increased
Under most Commonwealth laws, financial penalties are expressed in terms of ‘penalty units’ instead of dollar figures. As an example, a maximum fine would generally be expressed as ’10 penalty units’ as opposed to ‘$1000’. The Australian Government recently increased the value of penalty units that apply to breaches of most Australian Government laws.
On 28 December 2012, the value of a penalty unit for calculating financial penalties increased from $110 to $170. The penalty unit value had not been adjusted since 1997. The civil penalties that apply for contraventions of the Spam Act 2003 and the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 are calculated using penalty units. This means that all financial penalties calculated using penalty units under the Spam Act 2003 and the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 will be higher for breaches of the legislation that occur on or after 28 December 2012.
The ACMA is currently in the process of updating its website and other information and fact sheets about the Spam Act 2003 and the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 to reflect the new higher penalty unit value.
In November 2008, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) commenced an education campaign aimed at raising the real estate industry’s awareness of, and compliance with, the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act) and the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (DNCR Act).
The ACMA initiated the education campaign in response to the increasing number of consumer complaints about telephone, SMS, and email marketing by real estate agents.
It has become apparent during this campaign that many real estate agents are unaware that much of their marketing activity may be subject to the provisions of either or both Acts.
To address this lack of awareness, the ACMA has created this web page within the Do Not Call Register website which features information specific to the real estate industry. This page aims to increase awareness and understanding of the Spam and Do Not Call legislation, and its application in the context of the real estate industry.
This information includes a Power Point presentation (ppt, 450kb) about the DNCR Act and the Spam Act, which has been designed to enable staff at real estate agencies to present training in-house. It is anticipated that this presentation, and other relevant information contained on this page, will assist in reducing complaints received by the ACMA about the marketing activity of real estate agents.
The ACMA will continue to monitor complaints against members of the real estate industry. Any complaints received about individual businesses may be subject to a full investigation, and the imposition of penalties as appropriate, including pecuniary penalties.
If you have an enquiry about any telemarketing matters relating to the real estate industry, please direct them to DNCInvestigations@acma.gov.au.
If you have an enquiry about any spam matters please call 1300 855 180, or send an enquiry.