Businesses must respect consumers’ right to unsubscribe from marketing messages

The ACMA is reminding all businesses to comply with Australia’s spam laws by allowing consumers to opt-out of receiving marketing messages.

Recent ACMA investigations have identified repeat failures by Australian businesses to comply with the Spam Act.

Investigations into complaints from the public about Woolworths Group Limited and Singtel Optus Pty Limited, both large well-known entities in Australia, resulted in over $1.5 million in penalties.

The ACMA found that these businesses continued to send messages after consumers had withdrawn consent. In some cases, people had attempted to withdraw many times.

These investigations highlight how even large businesses can fail to have effective systems and processes in place so that consumers can unsubscribe from e-marketing campaigns.

ACMA enforcement action for breaching the Spam Act 2003 can include formal warnings, infringement notices or even action in the Federal Court.

Respecting customer’s wishes also makes good commercial sense.


  • E-marketers need to allow people to unsubscribe from their electronic mailing lists.
  • Businesses cannot ‘set and forget’ their compliance systems or outsource their risk to third parties.

Commercial electronic messages must generally contain an ‘unsubscribe’ option that:

presents unsubscribe instructions clearly

honours a request to unsubscribe within 5 working days

does not require the payment of a fee

does not cost more than the usual amount for using the address (such as a standard text charge)

is functional for at least 30 days after the message is sent

Read more about how to comply with the Spam Act (or how to make a complaint) on the ACMA website.