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Three companies have been issued with a fine after violating the Spam Act for promoting Coca-Cola products thorough SMS.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has accepted enforceable undertakings from three companies – Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), New Dialogue, and Big Mobile, and has issued a formal warning to Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd (CCSP).

In October last year, 100,000 SMS messages promoting Coca-Cola products were sent. “Take a hint from your PC and reboot. You’ll work faster. Reclaim your lunch hour with a friend. Escape with a Coca-Cola lunch break,” says the message.

The ACMA has found that these commercial electronic messages were sent without an unsubscribe facility and did not provide contact information, thus violating the Spam Act. As a result, a formal warning has been issued to Coca-Cola South Pacific.

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman said, “The ACMA considers that well resourced companies should be compliance leaders. There is no excuse for them to fall short in their obligations under the Spam Act for SMS marketing campaigns.”

 

The ACMA has accepted an enforceable undertaking from VHA, which includes a financial component of $110,000. The undertaking was offered by VHA in response to three ACMA investigations into alleged breaches of the Spam Act (including the Coca-Cola marketing campaign).

VHA has also undertaken to appoint an independent auditor to monitor Spam Act compliance and to make recommendations to improve its Spam Act compliance.

In accordance with its enforceable undertaking, New Dialogue has paid an amount of $22,000, while Big Mobile has undertaken to pay compensation to each recipient of any SMS message that breaches the Spam Act during the term of the enforceable undertaking.

‘VHA, New Dialogue and Big Mobile are businesses which by their very nature are heavily involved in SMS marketing campaigns. The ACMA nonetheless notes their commitment to the process of achieving compliance with the requirements of the Spam Act. I would keenly hope that their actions and responses provide a sobering reminder to all of the players in the SMS marketing industry about the importance of compliance,’ concluded Chapman.

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