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DIA Issues $30,000 Penalty For Unsolicited Messages

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has issued a penalty of NZ$30,000 to Greenback Ecommerce Limited (trading as The Safety Warehouse) for breaching the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 (the Act).

The Safety Warehouse was investigated after DIA received complaints from the public about receiving unsolicited commercial SMS text messages. These messages took advantage of the second COVID-19 outbreak to sell face masks and failed to provide an unsubscribe facility.

DIA executed a search warrant on The Safety Warehouse’s mobile network service provider and identified over 4,800 unsolicited commercial SMS text messages sent on 12 August 2020. The text messages were sent to over 4,700 unique mobile numbers with over 80 recipients receiving multiple texts.

This is not the first time enforcement actions have been taken against The Safety Warehouse. Early this year DIA issued the company with a formal warning for sending unsolicited commercial messages, along with information on how to achieve compliance under the Act. The Safety Warehouse then further breached the Act in August and was issued a NZ$300 civil infringement notice.

Lisa Wilkin-Krug, Manager of Digital Messaging and Systems at DIA, hopes that this enforcement outcome encourages businesses to ensure their electronic marketing complies with the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act. “It is vital to obtain the recipient’s consent prior to sending a commercial electronic message and to provide a functional unsubscribe facility within the message. Failure to do so can result in enforcement action by DIA”.

How can I find out about complying with the Act?

· You can find helpful information and advice for compliant electronic marketing practices on our website.

How do I report a spam message?

· Text Spam: You can report text spam for free on your phone by forwarding the spam text message to 7726

· Email Spam: If the email has no attachments then you can complete a short online form on our website.

· If the email has attachments or may be malicious you can simply forward it us.

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