Are you Sending Spam? 3 Must-Take Steps to Ensure Legal Compliance

In the digital age, businesses frequently use email and text messages to market their products and services to customers. While digital message marketing can be an easy and cost-effective way to reach your audience, there is a fine line between marketing and spam. Businesses should ensure they are complying with the law surrounding digital message marketing to avoid hefty penalties. This article will explain the legal framework that surrounds digital message marketing and outline the key steps to ensure compliance!


Are you sending spam?

In Australia, digital message marketing is governed by the Spam Act 2003 (Cth). The Spam Act makes it illegal to send any unsolicited commercial electronic messages that are linked to Australia.


A commercial electronic message (CEM) includes any digital message that advertises or promotes a business, investment opportunity, goods or services. This includes any marketing messages sent to customers via email or text. If your CEM is unwanted and unsolicited, it will be considered spam.


The Spam Act is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and businesses who breach the Act are liable to pay civil penalties.


How do I comply with spam laws?

Businesses should consider the following three steps to ensure compliance with the Spam Act:


1. Consent

Commercial electronic messages should only be sent where you have received consent from the recipient. Consent may be express, where the person has specifically requested to receive messages from your business, or inferred, where there is a reasonable expectation that they will receive those messages.


Examples of when consent may be inferred include where a person has:

  • Provided their phone number or email after purchasing goods or services from your business for follow-up communications
  • Provided their email to be sent a digital receipt
  • Provided a business card including their number or email


2. Identification

Businesses must ensure they clearly identify themselves as the sender of the commercial electronic message. Identification should include the business’ name and contact details.


3. Unsubscribe facility

Businesses must provide an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe to future CEMs, should they wish to do so. For example, businesses may include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of a marketing email or a reply “STOP” to opt out for text messaging. Importantly, businesses receiving an unsubscribe request must action that request and remove the recipient from their mailing lists.


Key takeaways

  • Digital message marketing is a popular and convenient way for businesses to promote their products and services.
  • Businesses must comply with the Spam Act when sending commercial electronic messages to avoid legal consequences and civil penalties
  • To comply with the Spam Act, businesses must identify themselves as the sender of a CEM, have consent from the person to send the message, and an unsubscribe facility in place.


Free downloadable

To retain a copy of this information, download our free infographic on compliance with the Spam Act below.


Gladwin Legal are experts in compliance law and have extensive experience in advising businesses. If you would like to know how we can help, please contact us at or 1300 033 934.