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Fast-food chain hit with $2.5m fine

Wood fire pizza Margharita
Pizza Hut have been fined $2.5m for spamming customers.

Pizza Hut Australia has been forced to dish out $2.5m for sending more than 10 million marketing messages to customers over four months, breaching Australian spam laws.

An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority found Pizza Hut sent about six million text message and emails between January and May last year.

Some of those customers had not consented to receive marketing or had withdrawn their consent.

During that same period, customers received 4.3 million marketing messages without an option to unsubscribe.

ACMA member Samanta Yorke said these failures caused frustration for people.

Lovely cute positive young woman hiding behind pizza
Customers received about six million text messages and emails between January and May last year. Picture istock

“Some of the customers involved had attempted to unsubscribe several times and received multiple messages after trying to stop them,” she said.

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“The public expects more from businesses who are using their data. They have a right not to be sent marketing messages if they haven’t consented or have chosen to unsubscribe.

“The spam rules have been in place for over 20 years and there is simply no excuse for failing to uphold the rights of consumers.

“It is particularly disappointing when well-known businesses with large customer bases fail to meet their obligations in the way Pizza Hut has.”

PIZZA HUT FINALE
Pizza Hut will now hire an independent consultant to review its compliance obligations and make improvements. Picture: NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe

Pizza Hut will now hire an independent consultant to review its compliance obligations and make improvements.

The pizza chain must also report regularly to ACMA.

Ms Yorke said they helped people who received unwanted spam by cracking down on businesses that did not comply with the direct marketing laws.

“The penalties for breaching can be very serious and all companies that conduct e-marketing should check their compliance systems are working effectively so they’re not spamming customers,” she said.

Over the past 18 months, businesses have paid more than $15m in spam and telemarketing penalties.

This fine follows recent action taken against other companies that have breached the spam laws, including Luxottica, Outdoor Supacentre, DoorDash, Ticketek, Uber and Kmart.