Beleaguered group deal provider Groupon has come under the ire of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for sending multiple email newsletters to people without their consent. Affected customers found they were unable to completely unsubscribe from the service despite making attempts to do so.
The ACMA issued a formal warning to Groupon Australia Pty Ltd after receiving complaints from consumers who continued to receive Groupon newsletters — sometimes on a daily basis — after they had already unsubscribed from the service.
"The ACMA considered information provided by Groupon left it unclear what individuals were unsubscribing from. In the ACMA’s view, it was reasonable for individuals to expect they would be unsubscribed from all newsletters unless they were advised otherwise," the ACMA explained in a statement.
In addition, the ACMA found that some unsubscribe requests were not actioned within five business days — a direct violation of the Spam Act.
Groupon has subsequently reworded its newsletters and website to make the unsubscribe process clearer. It has also added an account management system which allows users to select and deselect specific newsletters.
The ACMA warning comes during a turbulent time for the company: last month, Groupon's CEO Andrew Mason was fired after a string of disastrous financial earnings reports. In the last financial quarter, the company's voucher business fell by around 14 percent.
With the 'daily deal' phenomenon beginning to lose its lustre, this is the sort of publicity the website could probably do without.
See also: When Daily Deals Coupons Go Bad.