Nokia has been fined $55,000 after customers weren’t easily able opt-out of an SMS marketing campaign, and the ACMA is warning all businesses to check their SMS marketing follows rules set out by the Spam Act.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) began investigating Nokia after customers complained they couldn’t unsubscribe from SMS messages containing ‘tips’ from the mobile phone manufacturer.
The ACMA found Nokia to be in contravention of the Spam Act 2003 for not including details in the messages about how it could be contacted. It also found some of the text messages amounted to promotion of Nokia’s products and services, so they should have incorporated an unsubscribe facility.
Nokia has agreed to an enforceable undertaking by the ACMA, in which it will have to appoint an independent consultant to audit its systems and processes, develop a plan to carry out the independent consultant’s recommendations, train its employees engaged in SMS marketing about complying with the requirements of the Spam Act and pay a fine of $55,000.
The investigation into Nokia’s SMS marketing activities is a timely reminder for businesses using SMS marketing and those that plan to in the future, to follow the regulations set out in the Spam Act.
“SMS allows businesses to reach their customers no matter where they are or what they are doing. But with that opportunity come responsibilities under the Spam Act, including the obligation to include an unsubscribe facility in marketing messages,” ACMA acting chairman Richard Bean said.
In 2010-11, the ACMA recorded a 370 percent increase in reports from consumers about SMS messages they considered spam.
“Some businesses are still not getting SMS marketing right. The same rules apply to SMS marketing as for email marketing, and the same rules apply to all businesses, big and small,” Bean added.