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New Zealand Firm Fined for Sending SMS and Email Spam

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A New Zealand marketing company has been issued the country's largest ever fine for sending email and SMS spam messages.

Nearly 45,000 text messages were sent to Vodafone and Telecom mobile users by Image Marketing Group (IMG) over a period of a month in 2009.

The IMG text messages were sent from an Australian mobile number to New Zealand mobile users. They contained a hyperlink to a website promoting a mobile phone antenna booster.

When address holders sought to unsubscribe by replying to the messages they were charged the usual fee for sending a text message.

In addition, more than half a million messages were sent to New Zealand email addresses by IMG in December 2009.

In 2010 IMG targeted New Zealanders again during 21 email advertising campaigns which promoted sales of the company's database products for between $1,000 and $2,000 each.

The Department of Internal Affairs took action against the company after receiving about 500 complaints from the public. IMG admitted that the messages sent to these people were spam.

The court has now issued a fine of N$120,000 against the company -- the largest yet under the country's anti-spam laws.

IMG initially said it believed the recipients of the email and text messages had consented to receive commercial electronic messages. It later agreed to settle the case.

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Tags: sms  spam  New Zealand