Kmart ordered to pay $1.3m fine by communications watchdog

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Kmart has paid a huge fine after it was found to have broken Australian spam laws in marketing emails to customers.

The discount retailer was ordered to pay $1.3 million for sending 212,471 messages in less than a year to customers who had unsubscribed from email notifications.

Consumer complaints prompted the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to open an investigation into the emails sent between July 2022 and May 2023.

The investigation found that the breaches had occurred due to a “combination of technology, system and procedural errors”.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin says consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with big brands invading their privacy.

“When a customer decides to unsubscribe from a marketing mailing list, companies are obligated to honor that request. The rules have been in place for almost 20 years and there is simply no excuse,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

“Kmart’s case is particularly concerning because it has lasted for such a long period of time.”

ACMA had warned Kmart “several times” that there could be problems with its consumer marketing before it opened its investigation.

“Kmart was given ample notice that it may have a compliance issue and should have done more to address the issues before we had to intervene and investigate,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Camera iconMs O’Loughlin said there was “no excuse” for breaking spam laws. Credit: Delivered

In addition to the fine, Kmart will have to appoint an independent advisor to assess compliance with spam rules.

Kmart will also have to report to ACMA on its communications.

The retailer is just the latest company to face fines for violations of spam laws, including DoorDash, Ticketek and Uber.

Commonwealth Bank paid a record $3.55 million fine in June after it was found to have broken spam laws with more than 65 million emails to customers.

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