Group-buying site Groupon is receiving criticism for bombarding consumers with email newsletters without adequate consent.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has taken things a step further by issuing a formal warning to the site. This follows numerous complaints from consumers who attempted to unsubscribe from the newsletters, and is expected to be followed by authorities in other countries.
By providing an email address to Groupon, people were typically subscribed to multiple newsletters that were sent to them either daily or weekly to promote deals. Complaints to the communications watchdog indicated that people who attempted to unsubscribe from the newsletters were unsubscribed from only one of them, still receiving other Groupon newsletters on a daily or weekly basis.
The ACMA deemed it "reasonable for individuals to expect they would be unsubscribed from all newsletters unless they were advised otherwise". It also found that some unsubscribe requests made to Groupon were not actioned within five business days, as required by the Spam Act, which states that commerical electronic messages – including emails and texts – must be:
– Sent with the recipient's consent
– Contain accurate information about the organisation that authorised the message
– Contain a functional unsubscribe facility to allow the recipient to opt out from receiving messages from that source in the future.