Kmart Got Fined $1.3 Million For Breaching Spam Laws Not Once, Not Twice, But 200,000 Times

Kmart have copped a big ‘ole fine from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who issued them a hefty $1.3 million penalty for sending spam emails to 200,000 people who had unsubscribed from their communications.
Fool me once Kmart, shame on you. Fool me 200,000 times, shame still on you.

After getting complaints from customers of Kmart’s spam, the ACMA launched an investigation into their mail-out process, which resulted in them finding 212,471 messages sent to unsubscribed customers between July 2022 and May 2023.

Most people have sent a rogue email once or twice — I have nightmares of unknowingly hitting ‘reply all’ on an office chain — however this number is far larger than a few mistaken emails going to the wrong address.

This was advertising material being received by people who had explicitly opted out of receiving marketing from Kmart, but still did. This is what the ACMA say is a violation of Spam Laws.

The AMCA’s investigation found that the cause of these spam emails was a mix of technological, systemic, and procedural failures, resulting in almost a quarter of a million unwanted marketing emails from Kmart.

Prior to the investigation Kmart had been contacted and warned by the ACMA to fix their faulty email system and stop spamming un-subscribers. Additionally they had received complaints from customers.

However the issue persisted, which has resulted in the AMCA dishing out a hefty infringement notice of $1,303,500 to the Aussie retail giant.

Kmart have since paid the fine, and said they will work to ensure the issue does not happen again. Here’s what a spokesperson from the store had to say:

“We regret that any customers received emails from Kmart when they had opted out. These issues should not have occurred, and we are actively working to strengthen our systems.”

But are they too sorry too late?

Chair of the ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin, noted that Kmart was given substantial time to make the fix and that it was acceptance by omission for them to have ignored the problem.

“Kmart was given more than enough notice it may have a compliance issue, and it should have done more to address its problems before we had to step in and investigate,” said O’Loughlin.

Nobody appreciates being spammed, whether it’s from your favourite retailer or from that guy you met on Hinge. When told to stop, it surely can’t be that hard to stop.

Now I’m wondering if the ACMA could give a fine to Clive Palmer for all those texts he sent during the election last year. If only. ACMA HMU.