Ticketek Pays $500,000 Penalty for Repeat Spam Breaches

October 19, 2023 | Legal

(October 19, 2023) — Australian ticketing company Ticketek Pty Ltd has paid a $515,040 infringement notice for sending around 98,000 texts and emails across 2022 that were in breach of Australian spam laws.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found Ticketek sent around 41,000 marketing texts and emails without the consent of recipients and around 57,000 texts and emails to people who had previously unsubscribed.

The ACMA has previously issued Ticketek with a formal warning after it breached the Spam Act in 2019.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said it was unacceptable that Ticketek has failed to comply with the spam laws again despite this earlier warning.

“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.”

Ticketek mischaracterised some emails as being non-commercial because they contained event information for ticket holders and therefore considered them exempt from spam rules. The ACMA found the emails also contained links to Ticketek’s website and social media pages, which contained advertising material and promotions for upcoming events.

“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,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“It is also 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. All businesses conducting e-marketing should be actively and regularly reviewing whether their marketing complies with the law.”

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. Ticketek must also report to the ACMA while the undertaking is in force.

This action follows recent enforcement taken against other companies that have breached the spam laws, including DoorDash, CommBank and MyCar Tyre & Auto. Enforcement of the spam unsubscribe rules is one of the ACMA’s compliance priorities and over the last 18 months businesses have paid over $10 million in spam and telemarketing penalties.

Consumers can make a complaint about spam here. For more information on how to reduce unwanted emails, texts, and phone calls, visit the ACMA website.

SOURCE: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – MR 29/2023.

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