Car company breaches Spam Act

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The Australian Communications Authority has fined a Melbourne car company for breaching the Spam Act.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has fined a Melbourne car company for breaching the Spam Act.

carsales.com.au Limited was fined more than $6500 by the ACA, for text-messaging people after copying their mobile phone numbers from classified ads.

According to a statement from the watchdog, carsales.com.au told the ACA that it immediately stopped the practice after it received the infringement notices. "The company claimed it had made an honest mistake and assured the ACA it would take all necessary steps to ensure that it complied with the Spam Act in the future," according to a statement from the ACA.

Dr Bob Horton said that because the Spam Act is an opt-in law the consent of a recipient may not be inferred merely because their mobile phone numbers or email addresses had been published. However, there were some limited exemptions for certain business-to-business communications, according to the statement.

"The ACA believes that those people selling cars published their telephone numbers in classified ads only so potential buyers could contact them," Horton said. "They did not consent to receiving commercial SMS messages advertising a car sales website from a company they had no relationship with, and who collected their mobile phone numbers from the newspapers."

The watchdog has required 200 businesses to amend their practices to comply with the act, since it came into effect last April. Three were fined by the ACA for more substantial breaches, three were issued with formal warnings and one gave an enforceable undertaking.

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