Spam and Privacy Laws

By Christine Pope

ATMS Chair of Marketing

In a recent email, ATMS mentioned the spam and privacy laws regarding unsolicited emails. We thought it would be handy to provide a simple explanation of the rules to make sure that you market effectively, and in a way that complies with current legislation. Don’t worry too much, it’s not hard to stay compliant! There are just a few simple strategies.


First up, what is covered by the Spam Act 2003? It’s not just emails, the Act includes SMS, MMS and instant messages. If you want to use these methods to market to clients you need to ensure you have consent, clearly identify yourself and provide an unsubscribe option.


To consent to receive emails or messages, clients need to directly sign up to your business by asking to be included on your mailing list or ticking a subscribe to newsletter option. Ideally, make sure you include this in your client forms so that you have clear consent.


Remember, if you have their contact information for one purpose, you cannot then use it for a different purpose without getting their express permission.


Your identity needs to be clear to the person you are emailing. You cannot hide your details from the client. Best practice is to use the email subject line to make clear what the communication is about.


A clear (and operational) method to unsubscribe needs to be within the email. If selected by the recipient, the unsubscribe must be processed within five days. Many of the popular programs for email, like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, will include that option and manage the unsubscribe function for you.


If you are found to have acted unlawfully under the Spam Act 2003, ACMA can take a range of actions against your business, such as issuing warnings or fines, or progress the matter to court.


To stay compliant, make sure that you have your client’s consent to send them messages, clearly identify who the message is from and always provide an unsubscribe option.


With many thanks to Robert Medhurst for permission to utilize his book “The Business of Healing” in developing these tips.