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Ticketek cops heavy ACMA fine over spam messages

The Australian ticketing giant has been fined $515,040 over tens of thousands of texts and emails found to be spam.

user icon David Hollingworth
Thu, 19 Oct 2023
Ticketek cops heavy ACMA fine over spam messages
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been investigating Ticketek since October 2022, when it received a range of customer complaints.

The ACMA found that the company had sent 57,000 emails and texts to customers who had already unsubscribed from Ticketek’s marketing and 41,000 more without the consent of the recipients.

Ticketek said in its defence that the messages were non-commercial as they were intended for ticket holders and carried event information and were thus exempt from anti-spam laws – laws that it had been formerly warned about contravening in 2019.

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But since the messages contained links to web pages promoting other events, the ACMA has ruled that they were, in fact, marketing material.

“Australians are fed up with these types of intrusions on their privacy, and Ticketek has no excuses given it was on notice after our previous action,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.

“Even if the purpose of a message is to provide factual information to customers, if it also includes marketing content, or links to marketing content, it can only be sent with consent.”

On top of the fine – which Ticketek has now paid – the ACMA has also accepted a “three-year court-enforceable undertaking from Ticketek requiring it to appoint an independent consultant to review its compliance with spam rules and to make improvements where needed”.

According to O’Loughlin, it is “incredibly frustrating for people to take the time to unsubscribe only for those requests to not be actioned. Businesses must have working systems in place to comply with consumer choice and consent.”

“We have seen several companies with similar failures over the last 12 months,” O’Loughlin added. “All businesses conducting e-marketing should be actively and regularly reviewing whether their marketing complies with the law.”

Those “several companies” include DoorDash, the Commonwealth Bank, and MyCar Tyre & Auto. Over the last 18 months, the ACMA has issued over $10 million in fines to companies in breach of the Spam Act.

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