|The car sales website spammed mobile phone users
with unsolicited messages.
A car sales website based in Melbourne has become the first
Australian company fined for spamming mobile phones, after
authorities found it had sent unwanted SMS text messages to phone
numbers taken from newspaper classified ads.
The carsales.com.au website was given a AU $6500 fine by the
Australian Communications Authority (ACA) for sending unsolicited
commercial SMS messages in breach of the 2003 Spam Act, following
complaints from the general public.
According to an ACA spokesperson, this is the first time an
Australian company has been fined for sending spam messages to
"People selling their cars advertised their phone numbers in
newspaper classified ads expecting only that potential private
buyers would contact them," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant for Sophos. "The car website may have thought
it was being creative in sending these advertisements to mobile
phones, but instead their messages were an unsolicited irritation
Newspaper advertisers had given no consent to receiving the
unsolicited commercial messages, according to acting ACA chairman,
Dr Bob Horton. Consent could not be implied simply because the
phone numbers had been published.
Curiously, at the time of writing, the carsales.com.au website
contains details of how it gathers mobile phone numbers for
delivering SMS text messages. The website's privacy statement says
that mobile phone numbers are "copied from classified
advertisements which were most likely published in newspapers and
|The car sales website explains how it gathers
mobile phone numbers for delivering SMS text messages.
The website's privacy statement goes on to declare that they do
not believe they are breaking anti-spam legislation by sending the
SMS text messages to mobile phone users.