ACMA tackles marketing of illegal financial services


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has taken action against three financial services companies following investigations that found they breached spam or telemarketing laws.

The companies – Phoenix Securities Pty Ltd (Phoenix Securities), Forex EA Pty Ltd trading as My Alfred (My Alfred) and Pineapple Funding Pty Ltd (Pineapple Funding) – were found to have sent emails, SMS or phone calls offering unsolicited financial services. without consent.

ACMA President Nerida O’Loughlin said the financial services industry is one of the most criticized areas for telemarketing.

“Australians can suffer significant economic harm when financial services companies break the rules,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“People in vulnerable situations are particularly at risk when they are unexpectedly offered what looks like easy money or quick loans. Stopping this type of illegal marketing is a priority for us.

The ACMA has accepted court-enforceable undertakings requiring the three companies to submit to a review by an independent consultant of their systems, procedures and compliance with the Anti-Spam Act 2003 and, in some cases, the Anti-Spam Act 2006 on the do not call registry.

The commitments also require companies to train staff on their compliance obligations and report to the ACMA on how they are implementing the independent consultant’s recommendations.

The ACMA has opened separate investigations into the three companies following consumer complaints about their marketing messages or phone calls.

Phoenix Securities paid an infringement notice of $26,640 on top of her recognizance after the ACMA discovered she had sent more than 3,000 emails offering business loans without consent, in violation of the Anti-Corruption Act. spam.

software development company My Alfred offered a commitment after the ACMA discovered it had made 14 calls offering its automated trading system to numbers listed on the Do not call Register without consent, in violation of the Do Not Call Act.

loan broker Pineapple financing offered a commitment to the ACMA after it sent 175 texts offering pre-approvals and interest-free periods for commercial loans to business owners without their consent, in violation of the anti-spam law.

The illegal marketing of financial services is a compliance priority for the ACMA. Over the past 18 months, companies have paid nearly $900,000 in infringement notices issued by the ACMA for violating spam and telemarketing laws. The ACMA also accepted 12 court-enforceable undertakings and issued seven formal warnings to companies. Financial services firms have played a leading role in these enforcement results.

The ACMA’s actions are having a chilling effect, with complaints about the illegal marketing of financial services falling by a third in the first half of 2021-2022.

Enforcement actions for violations of Australia’s unsolicited communications laws may include official warnings, infringement notices, court-enforceable recognizances and actions in Federal Court.

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