Aussie watchdog bites Groupon

Online coupon outfit Groupon is in hot water with Aussie regulators after its “newsletters” were categorized as spam.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to Groupon after receiving shedloads of complaints from consumers who attempted to unsubscribe from the online retailer’s newsletters.

It appears that if you provided an email address to Groupon, you ended up subscribed to multiple newsletters that were sent to them either daily or weekly.

Those who attempted to unsubscribe from the newsletters were only unsubscribed from one of them, and continued to receive other Groupon newsletters.

Now the ACMA found it was “reasonable for individuals to expect they would be unsubscribed from all newsletters unless they were advised otherwise”. It was also concerned that unsubscribe requests made to Groupon were not actioned within five business days, as required by the delicious sounding Spam Act.

The ACCC and state consumer groups allegedly receive up to 140 complaints a month about group buying sites such as Groupon, Cudo, Spreets and Living Social and the watchdog said that it was keeping a close eye on the outfit.

The ACMA’s unsolicited communications manager, Julia Cornwell McKean, told the Sydney Morning Herald that it received a high number of complaints about group-buying sites because of the large volume of emails they typically send.

However, she was satisfied with the way Groupon had responded to the ACMA warning, saying it had since “moved towards best practice marketing”.