Grays cops fine for Spam Act breach

Australian online shopping company Grays has paid AU$165,000 for its breach of the Spam Act.

Grays has become the latest online retailer to get caught emailing people without providing an unsubscribe button, and the company has paid AU$165,000 for the mistake.

The company originally caught the attention of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for an email campaign advertising its new GraysEscape online hotel-booking website. The ACMA found that the email was promotional, despite Grays' claims to the contrary.

After the decision, Grays sent more emails without an opt-out facility, including to people who had already opted out of receiving more marketing messages. For that, Grays was fined AU$165,000.

ACMA deputy chairman Richard Bean said the case highlighted the need for businesses to pay close attention to the emails they send out.

"This case demonstrates the domino effect one wrong decision can have," he said in a statement. "Businesses take a huge risk if they decide an email doesn't need to comply with the Spam Act.

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

Another online sales site, Groupon Australia, received a warning from the ACMA in March after it received complaints from customers that the company had made it difficult to unsubscribe from email newsletters.

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