The ACMA has fined online retailer The Wine Group $204,240 for breaching multiple spam and telemarketing laws.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), The Wine Group, which operates under the names Oak Road Estate and Top Drop, sent unsolicited SMS to consumers who had tried to unsubscribe, made telemarketing calls to phone numbers on the Do Not Call Register after the consumers withdrew their consent to receive those calls and failed to terminate telemarketing calls when requested.
When I read the announcement from the ACMA, I could recall exactly the spiel this company gives, continuing with its pitch even after I said I wasn’t interested. One time, I even said I was sober for a few months. To that last point, ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that beyond the intrusion on privacy, the Wine Group’s actions had the potential to put people in vulnerable circumstances at risk.
“People choose to opt out from receiving marketing SMS and calls, sometimes for deeply personal reasons. Industry must respect those consumer choices,” O’Loughlin said.
She also said the regulator received a number of complaints from people who stated The Wine Group’s unwanted marketing caused them significant stress and frustration due to their personal circumstances.
Prior to launching a formal investigation, the regulator gave The Wine Group opportunities to fix its compliance issues, O’Loughlin said. She also said contact by the ACMA wasn’t taken as an opportunity to address the issues, and, as a result, action had been taken.
“All businesses are on notice that they must take their marketing compliance very seriously or we will take action,” she added.
The ACMA found The Wine Group breached the Spam Act 2003, the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Telecommunications (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2017. If you don’t know those laws, it’s fine, all you need to know is that they’re there to protect us and the ACMA said the company breached its requirements to adhere to those laws.
The ACMA has also accepted 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 to make improvements where needed.
“The ACMA will be actively monitoring The Wine Group’s review and implementation of improvements,” the regulator added in a statement.