Kmart has been raked over the coals by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and paid a fine of $1.3 million for sending more than 200,000 marketing emails over a 10-month period to customers who had previously unsubscribed.
“When a customer decides to opt out of a marketing mailing list, businesses are obliged to fulfil that request,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
“The rules have been in place for nearly 20 years and there is simply no excuse.”
The Wesfarmers-owned retailer sent the 212,4712 emails between July 2022 and May 2023, with ACMA saying Kmart was warned on “multiple occasions” that there were issues with its marketing emails.
“Kmart was given more than enough notice it may have a compliance issue, and it should have done more to address its problems before we had to step in and investigate,” O’Loughlin said.
ACMA began its investigation into the budget retailer in May and found the breaches occurred “due to a combination of technology, system and procedural failures”.
As well as paying a penalty of $1,303,500, Kmart must hire in independent consultant to ACMA’s liking to ensure the retailer is complying with the Spam Act and report back to the watchdog.
This consultant will review Kmart’s procedures and present its findings to the board.
ACMA has scored some notable wins recently, having collected more than $12.5 million in fines from errant businesses over the past 18 months.
Australian businesses should consider themselves on notice, O’Loughlin said.
“Any business that conducts e-marketing should be actively and regularly reviewing its processes to ensure it is complying with the rules.”
Kmart was approached for comment but none had been received by time of publication.