Virgin Has Blue With ACMA Over Spam

  • Virgin fined $110,000 over spam
  • Offers to audit emails for a year
  • Agrees to independent assessment

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Virgin Blue Airlines over allegations of sending commercial emails despite recipients’ multiple attempts to unsubscribe from its mailing list.

The undertaking commits Virgin Blue to a thorough overhaul and independent assessment of its email marketing practices. Virgin Blue has also made payment of $110,000 as part of the undertaking.

During the investigation, Virgin Blue acknowledged that it had experienced problems with its email marketing systems, which led to some previously unsubscribed consumers continuing to receive emails.

‘Businesses which market by email need to regularly test that the unsubscribe function in their messages is working properly,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘The Spam Act requires that a request from a consumer to be unsubscribed from commercial emails must be addressed. No further commercial electronic messages are allowed to be sent to the consumer five working days after an unsubscribe request is made.’

To achieve better compliance with this obligation, Virgin Blue will engage an independent third party to thoroughly assess its email marketing processes and to implement any recommended changes. It will also provide training to relevant employees, establish a complaints handling policy, and audit 10 per cent of its email marketing campaigns monthly for a year.