GraysOnline fined $165K for sending spam emails

Shopping website’s email campaign did not comply with Spam Act

Grays (NSW) Pty Limited, which runs the GraysOnline shopping websites, has been ordered to pay a $165,000 infringement notice after sending marketing emails that did not comply with the Spam Act.

The company claimed that an email campaign introducing its GraysEscape travel website was not promotional. However, an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found this was incorrect.

According to the consumer watchdog, GraysOnline sent emails which did not have an opt-out facility and to some customers who had already withdrawn their consent to receive marketing messages.

ACMA deputy chairman Richard Bean said the case demonstrates the domino effect that one wrong decision can have.

“Businesses take a huge risk if they decide an email doesn’t need to comply with the Spam Act,” he said in a statement.

“This conduct involved a conscious decision by an experienced e-marketer. The consequences of getting it wrong can be severe-from potential penalties to damaging your reputation.”

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Tags spamGraysOnlineAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)ACMASpam Act

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5 Comments

Realist

1

The reaction from ACMA seems somewhat disproportionate to the infringement, looks like they were just after a scalp. One non compliant email gets a $165,000 fine because it didnt have an opt out link, sounds more like human error than a systematic abuse of the system. Maybe Grays should shift its business overseas like so many others?

Greg

2

@Realist. So its okay to send spam then. I still receive emails from Aussie companies that I have no dealings with and click the opt out button only to have the silly email sent to me again next month. I guess your happy to have the good old days of bait n switch in shops, what a scam that was.
Realist, please provide your email address so we can sign you up for every type of marketing material email.

Realist

3

@Greg, no it isn't OK to spam but the infringement was a once only email rather than an orchestrated campaign, sounds like human error rather than deliberate spamming, maybe an official warning would have been appropriate but then ACMA wouldn't have got a high profile scalp. Greg, why are you so angry in your response?

bluetie

4

@Greg, you are quite right about the effect of spam, and it's good to see ACMA doing something about it in the only way that will get through to the people responsible.

Those who attempt to defend the spammers by saying that the offense only related to one email apparently haven't read the judgement.

Ethical-operator

5

A deliberate act by an experienced e-marketer. These business operators knowingly flaunt the law because they think they can get away with it. They seek any advantage over ethical business operators in doing so. Next thing they will be selling your details to offshore spammers. It's high time these abusers of the system are called to account. They deserve everything they got.

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