The ACMA has fined online retailer The Wine Group $204,240 for violating multiple spam and telemarketing laws.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), The Wine Group, which operates as Oak Road Estate and Top Drop, sent unsolicited text messages to consumers who had attempted to unsubscribe, made telemarketing calls to telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Sign after consumers withdrew their consent to receive such calls and did not terminate telemarketing calls upon request.
When I read the ACMA ad, I remembered exactly that company’s spiel, continuing its pitch even after saying I wasn’t interested. Once I even said that I had been sober for a few months. On this last point, ACMA President Nerida O’Loughlin said that beyond the invasion of privacy, the Wine Group’s actions had the potential to endanger people in situations of vulnerability.
“People are opting out of marketing text messages and calls, sometimes for deeply personal reasons. The industry must respect these consumer choices,” O’Loughlin said.
She also said the regulator had received a number of complaints from people claiming The Wine Group’s unwanted marketing had caused them significant stress and frustration due to their personal circumstances.
Before launching a formal investigation, the regulator gave The Wine Group an opportunity to resolve its compliance issues, O’Loughlin said. She also said the ACMA contact was not seen as an opportunity to resolve the issues and therefore action was taken.
“All businesses are warned that they must take their marketing compliance very seriously or we will take action,” she added.
The ACMA found The Wine Group to have breached the Anti-Spam Act 2003, the Do Not Call Registry Act 2006 and the Telecommunications Industry Standard (Telemarketing and Tracing Calls) 2017 If you don’t know these laws, that’s fine, all you need to know is that they are there to protect us and the ACMA said the company violated its requirements to comply with these laws.
The ACMA also agreed to a three-year, court-enforceable undertaking from The Wine Group, under which the company is required to appoint an independent consultant to review its compliance with spam and telemarketing rules, and make improvements if necessary.
“The ACMA will actively monitor The Wine Group’s review and implementation of the improvements,” the regulator added in a statement.