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REIQ Journal : February 2010
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to a New South Wales real estate agency following an investigation that found the agency breached the Spam Act 2003 by sending commercial electronic messages without an unsubscribe facility. "' This is the rst enforcement measure taken against a real estate agent since an ACMA awareness campaign about unsolicited communications targeted at the real estate sector," acting ACMA chairman Chris Cheah said. The campaign was held in response to the ACMA's concerns about widespread non-compliance with marketing obligations by members of the real estate sector. The ACMA wrote to more than 40 head o ces of leading real estate franchisors and companies in 2009, informing them of key obligations and providing links to online training Real estate agency breaches Spam Act and resources to increase awareness of legal obligations and of the consequences of non-compliance. "It is disappointing that some real estate agents do not appear to have taken the opportunity to understand the requirements for complying with the Spam Act," Mr Cheah said. The ACMA has a tiered approach to compliance and enforcement. While education is the rst step, stronger enforcement action will be used if compliance is not achieved. "Real estate agents should consider themselves to be on notice," Mr Cheah said. "Members of the industry need to understand that, even when they are dealing with potential buyers on a one-to-one basis, these interactions are commercial and they need to comply with spam and telemarketing laws." Commercial electronic messages must be sent with the recipient's consent and include a statement that the recipient can use an electronic address, provided in the message, to send an unsubscribe request. During the course of this investigation, the ACMA identi ed messages sent by Elders Real Estate Wollongong that did not contain unsubscribe wording to this e ect. The ACMA has taken a wide range of enforcement action against non- compliant 'spammers' in the last 12 months, including recent action in the Federal Court which resulted in signi cant penalties being imposed on both individuals and companies. Under the Spam Act, potential penalties of up to $1.1 million per day may be imposed by the Federal Court for repeat o enders. webTM agent TM officeTM REIQ Journal February 2010 INDUSTRY NEWS 3
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