Company fined $120,000 for spam

An Auckland based marketing company has been ordered to pay $120,000 for sending spam via email and text messages.

This is the largest penalty imposed for sending spam in New Zealand.

Internal Affairs Department (IAD) took the civil case against Image Marketing Group (IMG).

Justice Mary Peters heard the case at the Auckland High Court under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act.

The Court heard that 519,545 messages were sent to New Zealand email addresses by IMG in December 2009.

In 2010, the Company targeted New Zealanders during 21 email advertising campaigns which promoted sales of the company’s database products at prices ranging from $1000 and $2000 for each product.

Nearly 45,000 text messages were sent to Vodafone and Telecom mobile users during a 30-day period in 2009.

Public complaints

The Department received about 500 complaints from the public.

IMG admitted that the messages sent to these people were spam.

Toni Demetriou, Team Leader of Electronic Messaging Compliance at IAD described the verdict as ‘an excellent outcome.’

“IMG must now stop sending any further spam to New Zealand electronic addresses. This is a clear win for consumers who are sick and tired of receiving unwanted messages via email or texts. Taking time to use our reporting services can help root out companies and individuals sending spam that ties up your time and can be costly to New Zealand business.”

The IMG text messages were sent from an Australian mobile number to New Zealand mobile users. They contained a hyperlink to a website promoting a mobile phone antenna booster.

When address holders sought to unsubscribe by replying to the messages they were charged the usual fee for sending a text message.

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