Sydney based financial services company Tyro Payments (Tyro) will have its policies, procedures and systems independently reviewed after it sent more than 150,000 spam email and SMS messages to consumers without an unsubscribe function in 2019 and 2020.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) accepted two-year court enforceable undertakings from Tyro committing it to implement recommendations from the independent review, provide training to staff and report instances of non-compliance to the ACMA.
ACMA Deputy Chair Creina Chapman said the financial services sector is on notice that they must comply with Australia’s unsolicited communications laws.
Illegal financial services marketing – by SMS, email and phone – is a current ACMA compliance priority due to the serious harms that can be involved. The ACMA is undertaking a range of compliance activities to promote awareness of the rules in the sector, including alerting business to potential compliance issues.
“The Spam Act has been in place for 17 years and provides important protections to consumers,” Ms Chapman said.
“Australians should not receive marketing messages they haven’t consented to, and they must be able to easily withdraw their consent when they choose.”
Tyro reported the issue after it was alerted to potential compliance issues by the ACMA, and has taken initial steps to address the problem, including enhancing its quality assurance programs and implementing staff training.
“We appreciate that Tyro has come to us with these commitments. Although it’s clear that its practices and systems were not adequate to comply with the spam laws, its actions since receiving our alert are appropriate to address the issues,” Ms Chapman said.
“However, the ACMA will not hesitate to pursue more serious enforcement action, including financial penalties, in appropriate cases. We will also be actively monitoring Tyro’s compliance with the spam laws and its commitments.”
If Tyro breaches its undertaking, the ACMA can apply to the Federal Court of Australia to have it enforced. The Court can also order payment of any benefit obtained from the breaches to the Commonwealth and compensation to people impacted.
Over the past 12 months, businesses have paid over $1,726,200 for ACMA-issued infringement notices for breaking spam and telemarketing laws. The ACMA has also accepted six court-enforceable undertakings and given six formal warnings to businesses.