Online retailer Apus Corporation has earned a slap on the wrist from the communications watchdog after spamming customers with emails from which they were unable to unsubscribe.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority warned the company it breached the Spam Act that says marketing messages may not be sent without the consent of the recipient and must include a way for them to unsubscribe.
Apus operations manager Ryan Cheng attributed the marketing spam to a system glitch caused when it transferred email provider.
“Our technical team said the issue occurred when we changed and copied the customer database from the old to the new server,” Cheng said. “A technical issue meant a couple of customers at the time were unable to (un)subscribe as the button wasn’t working.”
Cheng said the company that was behind Apus Auction and Apus Computer and Communications had learned its lesson and doesn’t expect the authroity will hear from dissatisfied customers again.
The watchdog's spokesman said the emphasis was on education and that most investigations don’t proceed beyond the initial warning.
“I hope a formal warning is enough and we never hear from them, or any complaints, again,” she said.
“We want to bring these issues back to the industry, and show them this is what happened in this case, take this as a warning for you too. Apus’ reputation may well suffer, hopefully not too much, but others in the industry should take note.”
Its recent release of updated spam reporting mechanisms saw the number of reports skyrocket, although it said this did not mean spam was on the rise with year-on-year investigations at a similar level.
“We have over the last year taken steps to enable people to report spam to us via the way they use it,” ACMA said.
“If you get email spam, you can email it to us. We’ve made it easier for people to send it to us. Every single business we can identify we contact them and give them and informal warning before we progress to education.”
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Issue: 322 | December 2013
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