Ticketek Australia has had to pay an eye-watering $500,000 fine after 98,000 texts and emails sent by the ticketing giant in 2022 have breached Australia’s spam laws.
Ticketek is no stranger to the news cycle, selling tix for some of the biggest events in the country, including the shitshow that was trying to cop tickets to Taylor Swift‘s upcoming tour.
And now, they’ve been found to be guilty of sending loads of those annoying spam texts I’m sure we’re all well accustomed to.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation into Ticketek’s messaging found that the company sent about 41,000 marketing texts and emails without the consent of consumers last year.
Ticketek also sent out a whopping 57,000 emails to people who had unsubscribed from their marketing and I reckon I copped about 50,000 of those.
The company had to cough up a total of $515,040 in accordance with the ACMA findings.
Turns out a bunch of the texts had been ‘mischaracterised’ by Ticketek as non-commercial because they were giving info to ticket holders about events.
BUT ACMA said that even those messages had a bunch of marketing material in them like links to the Ticketek socials.
ACMA’s chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, said that even messages that aimed to give relevant details about events to their customers couldn’t contain any marketing material without the recipients consent.
“It is also incredibly frustrating for people to take the time to unsubscribe only for those requests to not be actioned. Businesses must have working systems in place to comply with consumer choice and consent,” she said.
A spokesperson for Ticketek said the businesses regretted sending their customers the spammy messages, and that they are continuing to review their processes in line with the Spam Act.
“Ticketek takes its obligations under the Spam Act very seriously and dedicates significant resources to ensuring compliance. We recognise however that no system is perfect, and we have been, and will continue to, work constructively with the ACMA in relation to the issues identified.
“We regret any impact these messages may have had on customers. As always, we will continue to review our systems, procedures, and training relating to our compliance with the Spam Act to ensure that this does not happen again.”
The Ticketek spokesperson also said the ticketing company was surprised to learn just how fickle ACMA is when it comes to spam texts saying:
“We were also surprised to learn that ACMA considers that customer consent is required even to send messages which Ticketek considers have the primary purpose of notifying customers of important event information, if those messages contain, for example, clickable social media handles in banners or footers within those messages, which link to pages containing promotional material.
“We anticipate that many other businesses may not be aware that in ACMA’s view these inclusions fall foul of the Act.”
Fingers crossed ACMA keeps doing the lord’s work to keep spam messages in line and that the AusPost scam texts I get twice a day, every day, are next in line to be squashed.