A $110,000 infringement notice payment might represent only a fraction of the real cost to Tiger Airways of addressing its recent Spam Act breaches.
In December 2011, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) commenced an investigation into whether Tiger Entities had contravened the Spam Act by:
- sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages without actual or inferred consent;
- failing to include accurate sender information; and
- failing to include a functional unsubscribe facility.
Tiger co-operated fully with the investigation and placed a temporary halt on its commercial message advertising campaigns whilst it examined and responded to ACMA’s concerns.
On 25th October, 2012 ACMA accepted a $110,000 infringement notice payment and an enforceable undertaking under which Tiger Airways will address ACMA’s concerns. The enforceable undertaking, filed under s. 38 of the Spam Act, makes interesting reading (for those who are interested in that sort of thing)*.
The undertaking will see Tiger appoint an independent consultant to review its current e-marketing activities (including related procedures, policies and systems). The consultant’s report is to identify any deficiencies and make recommendations as to:
- systems improvements;
- ongoing monitoring;
- procedures for quality assurance and implementation.
The consultant is also to determine an appropriate audit program to allow Tiger “to detect Spam Act compliance issues” as well as a complaints handling process to help it to respond to them.
The costs are sure to mount up…and can probably be counted.
The costs that are less likely to be counted easily are the costs of repairing brand damage. ACMA Deputy Chairman, Richard Bean referred to these costs when he stated in his recent media release:
“Marketing to customers who have unsubscribed is not only against the law, it causes consumer frustration and that ultimately damages a business’s reputation.”
It’s sure to have been an expensive lesson and one of which we should take note.
* Enforceable undertakings accepted by ACMA are published on its Undertaking Register.