The Wine Group has fined over $200,000 for spamming customers with text messages, phone calls

An online retailer has been fined for spamming customers, some of whom suffered “significant stress” as a result.

An online wine retailer has been fined $200,000 for violating spam and telemarketing laws, with the regulator finding the company’s actions could endanger vulnerable people.

The Wine Group, trading as Oak Road Estate and Top Drop, sent unsolicited text messages to consumers who had attempted to unsubscribe, telemarketing calls to phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry after consumers gave their consent to make those calls. received and do not terminate telemarketing calls when prompted.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ordered The Wine Group to pay $204,240 in infringement notices for violating multiple spam and telemarketing laws.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that in addition to the invasion of privacy, The Wine Group’s actions had the potential to endanger people in vulnerable circumstances.

“We have received a number of complaints from people claiming that The Wine Group’s unwanted marketing caused them significant stress and frustration due to their personal circumstances,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

“People choose to opt out of receiving marketing texts and calls, sometimes for very personal reasons. The industry must respect those consumer choices.”

Ms O’Loughlin said the ACMA has given The Wine Group opportunities to resolve its compliance issues before launching a formal investigation.

She said the company had been contacted several times and the authority had received complaints from consumers about its marketing, but it was not addressing the issues adequately.

In addition to the fines paid, the ACMA has accepted a comprehensive three-year, court-enforceable undertaking from The Wine Group, requiring it to appoint an independent consultant to assess spam and telemarketing compliance and where appropriate. to make improvements.

The ACMA would also actively monitor The Wine Group’s assessment and implementation of improvements, Ms O’Loughlin said.

In the past 18 months, companies have paid out more than $3.5 million in fines for violating spam and telemarketing laws.

The ACMA has also accepted 15 court-enforceable pledges and issued six formal warnings to companies.

“All businesses know they have to take their marketing compliance very seriously or we will take action,” added Ms O’Loughlin.

Originally published as The Wine Group has been fined over $200k for spamming customers with text messages, phone calls

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