Pizza Hut hit with $2.5m penalty for sending spam emails and texts to customers

Pizza Hut hit with $2.5m penalty for sending spam emails and texts to customers

Photo via Pizza Hut Facebook

Pizza Hut Australia’s operator Pizza Pan Group has been fined $2.5 million for sending more than 10 million marketing texts and emails over a four-month period last year to customers who had either not consented to receive them or had unsubscribed.

The fine for breaching Australian spam laws follows an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which has been actively cracking down on the practice over the past 18 months and most recently has caught out the likes of Luxottica, the eyewear retailer that owns the brands OPSM, Oakley and Sunglass Hut, as well as Kmart, DoorDash and the Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA).

The ACMA investigation found that from January and March 2023 Pizza Hut Australia had sent 5.94 million texts and emails to customers even after many of them had asked to be unsubscribed from this marketing activity.

The fast-food company was also found to have sent 4.36 million marketing messages to customers without an option to unsubscribe, which ACMA member Samantha Yorke says had been a cause of “frustration” for people.

“Some of the customers involved had attempted to unsubscribe several times and received multiple messages after trying to stop them,” says Yorke.

"The public expects more from businesses who are using their data. They have a right not to be sent marketing messages if they haven’t consented or have chosen to unsubscribe.

“The spam rules have been in place for over 20 years and there is simply no excuse for failing to uphold the rights of consumers. It is particularly disappointing when well-known businesses with large customer bases fail to meet their obligations in the way Pizza Hut has.”

Pizza Hut Australia has also agreed to a three-year court-enforceable undertaking that includes the appointment of an independent consultant to review its compliance with the rules and to make improvements where required. The company is also required to report regularly its progress to the authority.

“We help people who receive unwanted spam by cracking down on businesses that don’t comply with the direct marketing laws,” says Yorke.

“The penalties for breaching can be very serious and all companies that conduct e-marketing should check their compliance systems are working effectively so they’re not spamming customers.”

ACMA latest enforcement action comes on the heels of $15 million in spam and telemarketing penalties issued to several companies over the past 18 months, including Luxottica, Outdoor Supacentre, DoorDash, Ticketek, Uber and Kmart.

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