Nokia Audit its SMS Marketing

  • Nokia’s tips service under fire
  • Fined $55,000
  • Retrain employees

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Nokia to take correctional measures over its marketing of its SMS service., as well as giving the company a slap on the wrist fine of $55,000.

The ACMA commenced an investigation into the Finnish company’s SMS marketing activity after complaints that customers could not work out how to unsubscribe from ‘tips’ sent by Nokia. In particular, the messages did not include details of how Nokia could be contacted, as required by the Spam Act 2003.

The investigation found that while a number of the ‘tips’ provided customers with factual information about their mobile phone handsets, some of them amounted to promotion of Nokia’s products and services, including mobile phone accessories, and that the messages therefore needed to include an unsubscribe facility.

“SMS allows businesses to reach their customers no matter where they are or what they are doing,” said ACMA Acting Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘But with that opportunity come responsibilities under the Spam Act, including the obligation to include an unsubscribe facility in marketing messages.’

In response to the ACMA’s investigation, Nokia Corporation has undertaken to:

  • appoint an independent consultant to  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
  • make a payment of $55,000.

In 2010-11, the ACMA recorded a 370 percent increase on the previous financial year in reports from the public about SMS messages believed to be 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 said.