Are you using emails, SMS, MMS or Instant Messaging (or any other kind of electronic communications) to send commercial messages to your audience?  

If you are, you need to ensure you understand and are compliant with the Spam Act (and no, it has nothing to do with the ham in a can).

Here’s what you need to know:

The Spam Act is designed to protect consumers from receiving unwanted commercial e-communications. Commercial messages are any messages that promote your brand, product or service. There are clear guidelines that must be followed, otherwise you will be found in breach of the Spam Act. Breaching the Act can result in serious fines and the requirement to implement additional compliance activities that could impact your overall business operation.

Spam Act and Privacy Policy. 

Whilst the Spam Act and Privacy Policy are not the same they do interrelate. The Spam Act largely deals with consent whilst the Privacy Policy focuses on the management of the information that consumers provide. Both need to be adhered to.

Here’s what you need to do:  

Get Consent – You cannot send electronic communications to anyone without his or her consent. Ensure they have opted in or that there is a consent statement clearly visible when they were providing their details.

Tell them who you are – When you send communication ensure that a customer can easily tell who you are. In your email you should include, or provide a link to the following information.

  • Full Company Name & Legal Address
  • Email Address
  • Postal Address
  • ABN
  • Fixed Line Phone Number
  • Contact Details of where to direct complaints (this can be in your Privacy Policy)

Tell them why you need the information – upon subscribing and within your communications make sure the customer knows why you are asking for, or have their details. EDMs should have a statement; for example “you have agreed to receive offers and promotion from our brand by subscribing to our mailing list either through our website or in store”.

Make unsubscribing easy – users must be able to unsubscribe from receiving your content and unsubscribes must be actioned within 5 business days.

Have a clear and comprehensive Privacy Policy – If you are collecting any kind of information from consumers, whether it is through a contact form or a mailing list subscription, ensure you have a clear privacy policy available on your website that outlines how you collect data, why it is collected, how it is stored, whether it is shared and how people can access it.

Major updates were made to the Privacy Policy in 2014. For more on what information your Privacy Policy should contain see our detailed blog here.

If you have any questions or would like to know more send us an email at

If you have any serious concerns or believe you are in breach of the Act we advise you speak to a legal professional.