'Over-enthusiastic' agent spams mobiles

A real estate agent in Queensland, Australia, has been reprimanded for spamming mobile phones, waking many people at 4 a.m.

The Surfers Paradise office of Ray White real estate has apologised for blanket spamming mobile phone users, and has told ZDNet Australia it will "severely discipline" the employee responsible.

The spam, which promoted real estate services for Ray White's Surfers Paradise office, was received overnight by Queensland residents.

Today, the joint managing director of the office, Gregory Bell, apologised for the spam, and said a new employee was to blame.

"That was done purely by new staff member, he had no authority from Ray White whatsoever," he told ZDNet Australia. "It's not our process... it's totally against company policy".

According to Bell, an over-enthusiastic staff member used a database belonging to a Gold Coast nightclub to harvest phone numbers from. The livid managing director says the employee will be disciplined.

"You can't go out and break the Privacy Act like that," he said. "Severe disciplinary action will be taken... [and] we certainly apologise".

To make matters worse, Bell said, recipients were actually woken up by the unauthorised spam. "They started waking people up... the timing of it has caused so much commotion," he said.

Queensland-based network administrator Peter Bonarrigo received the message at 4 a.m. "It's really nice being woken up at 4 in the morning with this sort of garbage," he joked.

Bonarrigo says the message could be an ominous sign.

"When I saw it I thought 'here we go'... they're going to start with everyone's mobile phones instead," he said.

Ray White's Queensland corporate office refused to comment on the incident.