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Large spam fine for online wine store

By Alex Mitchell

An online wine retailer has been fined more than $200,000 for breaching spam and telemarketing laws.

The Wine Group, which retails as Oak Road Estate and Top Drop, sent unsolicited texts to customers who had unsubscribed and made telemarketing calls to phones on the Do Not Call register.

They also didn’t stop the telemarketing calls when asked by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin noted ignoring opt-out requests did not respect the “deeply personal reasons” why they might be doing so.

“We received a number of complaints from people who stated The Wine Group’s unwanted marketing caused them significant stress and frustration due to their personal circumstances,” she said.

“All businesses are on notice that they must take their marketing compliance very seriously or we will take action.”

Not fixing the compliance issues when ACMA asked triggered the investigation, Ms O’Loughlin said.

“We contacted The Wine Group on several occasions letting them know we had received consumer complaints about its marketing,” she said.

“This contact by the regulator wasn’t taken as an opportunity to address the issues, as a result, we have this action against The Wine Group.”

Along with paying $204,240 in infringement notices, the group is now on a three-year, court-enforceable undertaking to appoint an independent consultant to review its compliance with the laws it has breached.

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