Marketing firm fined for spamming
Auckland-based marketeer Image Marketing Group has been fined a record $120,000 after it admitted sending spam emails and text messages in 2009 and 2010.
The Department of Internal Affairs, which took action against the two-person company after receiving 500 complaints, said the fine approved by the High Court in Auckland was the largest imposed under the Unsolicited Electronic Communications Act, which came into force in 2007.
IMG sent more than 500,000 emails and 45,000 texts in 2009, admitting some were spam. They invited people to buy its database products and mobile phone antennas.
Justice Mary Peters said IMG sent more spam emails in 2010, but the volumes were not known.
Internal Affairs dropped its action against IMG's sole director, Brendan Battles, as part of the court-approved negotiated settlement.
The maximum penalty that can be imposed on companies for sending spam is $500,000, plus damages, and $200,000 for individuals.
The department originally took action against IMG in 2011 when it was reported the company and Battles could have faced up to $2.1 million in fines from four individual offences.
The previous highest penalty for spamming was $100,000, awarded against Lance Atkinson in 2008.
Internal Affairs team leader Toni Demetriou said the case showed it was worth people taking the time to report spam to the department.