Kogan fined over $310,000 for breaching spam laws: ACMA

Online retailer Kogan has been found to have breached Australian spam laws, following an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation.

Kogan Australia Pty Ltd has now agreed to a court-enforceable undertaking, and has paid $310,800 over breaches relating to marketing emails sent to customers.

The ACMA found that Kogan’s conduct breached the Spam Act after consumers received more than 42 million marketing emails from which they could not easily unsubscribe.

Kogan’s requirement that recipients of its marketing emails take additional steps including setting a password and logging into a Kogan account to unsubscribe, was found to be was unlawful.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the investigation set out to make it clear that businesses can’t force customers to set a password and login to unsubscribe from commercial messages.

“Kogan’s breaches have affected millions of consumers. The ACMA received complaints from a number of recipients of Kogan’s email expressing their frustration and concern with Kogan’s practices,” she said.

“Businesses must comply with the unsubscribe requirements in the spam rules.”

The ACMA accepted a three-year court-enforceable undertaking from Kogan that requires the business to undertake an independent review and implement recommendations of said review.

The undertaking covers Kogan Australia Pty Ltd and is applicable to all of the company’s trading names, including the Kogan and Dick Smith brands.

O’Loughlin revealed that ACMA gave Kogan several compliance alerts before taking the steps to start the investigation.

“These notifications are designed to alert businesses of potential non-compliance with the Spam Act. ACMA alerts put businesses on notice—address consumer concerns or we will investigate you under the law, as we have done here.

“That said, we acknowledge that Kogan fully cooperated with the ACMA in our investigation and took actions to update their unsubscribe facilities prior to its completion.

Kogan will also be required to train staff responsible for marketing messages to regularly report to the ACMA on how they handle customer complaints in the future.

Businesses have paid over $2 million for ACMA-issued infringement notices for breaking spam and telemarketing laws over the last 18 months.

They have included Optus which was fined $500,000 over SMS and email marketing spam, and Woolworths, which copped a record fine over $1 million for breaching the Spam Act – the largest single fine issued by the ACMA to date.

O’Loughlin added: “This substantial infringement notice and a comprehensive three-year court-enforceable undertaking sends a message to Kogan and other businesses that the ACMA will take strong action for breaches of the spam rules.”


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