Online Retailer Kogan Fined Over $300,000 for Breaching Spam Laws

January 19, 2021 Updated: January 19, 2021

Major online retailer Kogan has been fined $310,800 for sending 42 million marketing emails without proper unsubscribe functions.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found the company breached Australian spam laws by forcing consumers to set up an account before they could sign-out of the emails.

“Kogan’s breaches have affected millions of consumers. The ACMA received complaints from several recipients of Kogan’s email expressing their frustration and concern with Kogan’s practices,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.

“Businesses must comply with the unsubscribe requirements in the spam rules. This investigation makes clear that businesses can’t force customers to set a password and login to unsubscribe from receiving commercial messages,” she said.

“The ACMA sent Kogan multiple compliance alerts before commencing this investigation. These notifications are designed to alert businesses of potential non-compliance with the Spam Act,” she added.

Kogan has also accepted a three-year undertaking to appoint an independent consultant to review its systems and implement any recommendations. Staff will also need to undergo training, and management will need to report back to ACMA regarding consumer complaints.

Kogan owned brand Dick Smith will also need to comply.

Over the past 18 months, ACMA has issued $2.1 million in fines for spam or infringements of the telemarketing laws.

In July, supermarket giant Woolworths was fined $1 million for breaching the Spam Act. While in January 2020, telecommunications brand Optus was fined $500,000.

In December, Kogan was fined $350,000 for a misleading marketing promotion that promised 10 percent discounts leading into the End of Financial Year.

The Australian competition regulator found Kogan had inflated prices leading into the promotion period.