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Camping and 4WD retailer fined more than $300,000 for spamming customers

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Camping enthusiasts have had their retribution after popular retailer 4WD Supacentre was fined for sending thousands of unwanted texts to customers.

Over a six-month period, the four-wheel drive and camping accessory store – which has a Sunshine Coast store at Birtinya – sent nearly 82,000 texts without recipients’ consent and a further 1575 to customers who had unsubscribed.

In response, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a $302,500 penalty to the company for breaching spam laws.

The 4WD Supacentre has also embarked on a three-year court-enforceable undertaking that requires it to appoint an independent consultant who will review its compliance with spam laws and make necessary improvements.

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ACMA member Samantha Yorke said companies must review their e-marketing needs and ensure their remain within the confines of the law.

“Businesses have a responsibility not to send unwanted spam and also to respect people’s wishes when they ask to stop receiving these messages,” she said.

ACMA issued a $302,500 penalty for breaching spam laws.

The company used a third-party provider for elements of its marketing processes but Ms Yorke said companies can’t outsource their compliance obligations.

Australia’s Spam Act requires businesses to obtain consent before sending marketing messages to consumers, and provide recipients with an unsubscribe option.

In the 11 months before ACMA’s investigation, the watchdog sent five spam compliance alerts to the 4WD Supacentre.

“It’s so disappointing (they) didn’t take the opportunity to adequately address the problems before we had to step in,” Ms Yorke said.

The retailer is not the first to fall victim to Australia’s spam laws.

Household retailer Kmart, food delivery service DoorDash and Ticketek have all faced similar penalties in recent months, while Uber was fined more than $400,000 in October after it sent more than two million marketing emails to customers without providing an unsubscribe function.

It’s not the first time 4WD Supacentre has been fined.

In 2020 the Australian consumer watchdog hit the retailer with $63,000 in penalties after it allegedly mislead consumers with ‘was/now’ pricing.

It advertised some of its best selling items with high ‘was’ prices and low ‘now’ prices even though none of the products on offer were sold at the ‘was’ price in the previous three months.

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