mBlox pays penalty for failing to include unsubscribe facility on premium ringtone SMS

mBlox, a multinational company headquartered in the United States, has paid a penalty of $11,000 after the Australian Communications and Media Authority issued it with an infringement notice for alleged contraventions of the Spam Act 2003.

ACMA alleged that mBlox sent a significant number of commercial electronic messages promoting a premium ringtone download service to mobile phones, on behalf of a premium mobile content provider, without providing notification of how to unsubscribe from the subscription.

‘The global nature of mobile communications means all international businesses using SMS for marketing in the Australian market need to be aware of their obligations under the Spam Act, irrespective of where that operator is based,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.

‘Also, many Australians may not be aware that SMS-based commercial messages must comply with the Spam Act. As is the case with emails offering products or services, commercial SMS messages must be sent with the recipient’s consent, have clear and accurate sender identification, and notification of a functioning unsubscribe mechanism,’ he said.

‘Consumers should be aware that if they receive unsolicited commercial SMS messages, they can make a complaint to ACMA under the Spam Act,’ Mr Chapman advised.

Complaints can be made via the webform at ACMA’s anti-spam webpage www.spam.acma.gov.au

mBlox has committed to work with ACMA to ensure its e-marketing customers are in compliance with the Spam Act.

ACMA and the ACCC have recently released a fact sheet about mobile premium rate services. Under the Mobile Premium Service Industry scheme, premium rate service providers are required to unsubscribe you if you reply to a message with the word STOP. Such unsubscribe requests cannot be charged at a premium rate. The fact sheet is available at the ACCC’s website.