Finance Consumer Woolworths cops record $1m fine for spam emails

Woolworths cops record $1m fine for spam emails

woolworths email spam fine
Woolworths has been rapped for failing to unsubscribe consumers from emails. Photo: Supplied
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Woolworths has copped a $1 million fine for bombarding customers with marketing emails even after they unsubscribed.

The communications watchdog found the supermarket giant had breached anti-spam laws five million times in the 10 months to July 2019.

Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida O’Loughlin said Woolworths’ behaviour was inexcusable.

“Woolworths failed to act even after the ACMA had warned it of potential compliance issues,” she said on Thursday.

Customers tried to unsubscribe from emails multiple times but kept getting them anyway.

Woolworths managing director Amanda Bardwell put it down to a technical error.

Ms Bardwell said further breaches were a result of multiple rewards-scheme members sharing the same email account.

She said individual members were unsubscribed on request, but the company did not know that meant unsubscribing everyone who shared the email address.

“The ACMA has made clear it expects all communications to an email address to stop in such scenarios,” Ms Bardwell said.

The $1 million fine is the largest ever issued by the communications watchdog.

Woolworths will appoint an independent consultant to ensure compliance with spamming laws, and staff will have training.

Ms O’Louglin said the fine should serve as a warning to other companies.

“Australians have the right to unsubscribe from marketing emails that they do not want to receive,” she said.