Unsubscribing from marketing emails, SMSs, etc

I bought something online from a Melbourne company so they added me to their email marketing list, but as the product was rubbish I no longer wished to receive emails from them. Every time they emailed me, I would click ‘unsubscribe’ at the bottom of the email - but the way they have set it up, clicking unsubscribe only unsubscribes you from that particular mailout/campaign, not all of their marketing emails, so it’s meaningless. There is no option to ‘unsubscribe all’ or ‘manage my subscription’. I have emailed the company several times to ask them to remove my details from their marketing lists but they ignored it and I’m still getting their emails. This company are known for their aggressive/unethical marketing tactics on Facebook and I’ve seen them be very nasty with customers and potential customers on Facebook (resorting to personal insults - very unprofessional), so I’m not surprised that they’ve ignored my requests.

What are my options here? Don’t Australian companies have to follow regulations regarding marketing/email communication? To me it’s spam.


Check whether they are a member of the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) and send them an email as it is against their rules too.

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"Under the Spam Act 2003, every commercial electronic message must contain a functional and legitimate ‘unsubscribe’ facility. This is an electronic address the recipient can use to tell the sender they do not wish to receive messages.

Businesses must make it easy for people to unsubscribe from electronic mailing lists."

From -> http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam/Ensuring-you-dont-spam/mandatory-unsubscribe-ability-ensuring-you-dont-spam-i-acma

"The Telecommunications Act 1997 gives the ACMA powers to search premises and seize equipment where an ACMA inspector suspects on reasonable grounds that the Act has been breached, and to impose and enforce penalties. The Act also provides for orders for forfeiture of profits derived from spam, and payment of compensation to spam victims.

Penalties for breaching the Act are up to $1.1 million per day, in respect of all the messages sent in breach of the Act on that day." (http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam/Ensuring-you-dont-spam/understanding-spam-ensuring-you-dont-spam-i-acma)

To complain about the business not unsubscribing you as requested, I would suggest you contact ACMA: http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/About/Corporate/Structure-and-contacts/contact-the-acma-acma-1


While this should not have to be on you, set up a mail filter to just delete or mark as spam all incoming from that company. Exactly how you do that is email client dependent as to where the menu is and how it works, but look for “filters”.

I suggest using their tactics and naming them.

If you ordered from them, you may have set up an account, so if that is the case, login and put dummy data in all of the account fields, including a fake email address. Unsubscribing from emails does not mean that your account and personal details have been deleted. Alternatively try using the Contact Us form on a company website, insist that they delete your account/personal details as per their Privacy Policy, sometimes this does the trick.


I have been getting this problem from CNET. I don’t know how I keep getting on their lists, but it feels like every other month I get some email or another.

Another arrived from them today, so I clicked on ‘unsubscribe’ only to see that I was unsubscribing from some ‘Amazon Echo news’! They do have a full unsubscribe that I have used before, but I am getting annoyed. I found their contact form and told them to get rid of my details. Every ‘newsletter’ I have received from them since the original unsubscribe has also been marked as ‘junk’, which doesn’t help CNET’s reputation.

The ACMA has a spam reporting address. Simply forward your email to report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au. They have more details on the ACMA website.


I get advertising emails from legitimate-looking companies that I have never bought from which makes me very nervous about clicking the unsubscribe button, I am concerned that the emails might be designed to encourage recipients to do just that and the un-subscribe link will download a virus or trojan or ransom ware or whatever. Is this being paranoid?


I had this problem with CNET too . I will no longer download from them . I use Filehippo now and have never had a problem

I would warn against downloading from CNET, as they are not a ‘reputable’ download site. Gizmo’s Freeware will tell you which sites are safe, in its article Best Freeware Download Sites (which has a special mention for CNET - at the bottom). Gizmo’s is also a good place to search for software solutions.


Forward all emails from them, unmodified, to that ACMA at



My wife bought some shoes about 6 weeks before Christmas. Since then we’ve been getting emails from shoe one company after another. It seem you unsubscribe on one, but another pops up—yes, the proverbial can of worms.

However, this one from Colorado makes unsubscribing a challenge. Here’s the email header -

[NOTE - My email address has been deleted for privacy reasons]

Now, I clicked on UNSUBSCRIBE, and here’s what I got –

The answer options do not match the questions. Reminds me of that decades old line by the prosecutor to the defendant, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”


Somehow we got on the Kogan mailing list…hhhmmmm…

The spam email has an Unsubscribe button on it but to ‘manage ones preferences’ in relation to their spam emails, one needs to set up an account with the same email address and then change settings when logged in…giving Kogan value personal information in the process.

We instead send them an email using the details on their website ‘contact us’ as asked politely for them to unsubscribe us, otherwise we would be reporting them for spam emails. Soon after sending the email, we received a confirmation email advising the change could take up to 48 hours.

Unsubscribing from a Australian business email list should involve a quick click rather than setting up an account to unsubscribe and/oe sending a specific email to remove from a spam list.


Reminds me of Hotel California- you can check out any time, but you can never leave!

I’d be phoning them and insisting they unsubscribe you, since that page does not give you that option!


And when “Unsubscribe” doesnt work, junk everything that comes from them.


I just use a disposible email address when dealing with most businesses. If I start getting Spam I then know which business lost control of my email address, I advise them that I am now getting Spam and that they may have been breached by hackers after which I dispose of the email address. No more Spam after that from that email address. Of course on some sites they don’t like disposable addresses and I weigh up how much I am willing to risk Spam starting to come from that sign up. I also use email filtering to junk anything obviously Spam (filtering includes using Spam Assassin) as I have had some email addresses for many years and the longer you have one the more likely you are to have it misused due to breaches.

Unsubscribe links I treat most with suspicion unless I know that it is a company I have been dealing with, random ones ie no relationship beyond the errant email I do not click, I delete the message (taking action as per above). If not one that is a disposable address the sender is added to my filtering rules using address, or phrases they use or similar to ensure the emails are junked rather than reaching my inbox.


Hmm … you response is quite helpful. So too other responses. Tell me - is a temporary email one that you set up under one of the web sites, eg gmail etc?


Sure you can do that, gmail is very flexible re email addresses and creating sort of disposable ones by using variations on your address. To do this you use your email address name eg myaddress then adding a + then what text you want to identify the address you are using it for eg hotelscombined so you end up with youraddress+hotelscombined@gmail.com (this is a sham address just to show usage). Then set up a filter in gmail to capture that address when it appears and direct it to whatever folder you would like it to be sent to eg junk, bin, or a specific folder you may wish to create. Though Gmail allows you to easily select the filter “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)” tick box for the address you created.

I prefer to use Abine’s Blur for my disposable addresses just using their free account. It is also available for Smartphones. It allows in the free version for you to generate unlimited disposable addresses (that do not expire until you delete or block them) plus will generate and remember passwords and logins for you if you wish to use that part. I use blocking sometimes instead of deletion if it is a site that addresses the problem issue or is one I want to limit when I receive emails from them. Deletion is permanent removal of the address.

An important note about Blur disposable addresses is that there is no compromise of my “real” email address…as an example of one of my older and blocked email addresses is qltg5l582hre@opayq.com (they now use blurme.com instead of opayq.com), as you can see no one can detect what my real email address is whereas with the gmail one anything before the + is the real address of your account.

A snip of the part of the pages of the contact control of Blur for my addresses:

There are other providers of disposable addresses, with some generating the address for only a short period, others allowing semi-permanent ones like Abine do.

https://temp-mail.org/en/ is definetly a temporary address provider

On Github a user has provided a very long list but I cannot swear to the safety or accuracy of most of the sites they list (use any of at your own risk after careful study of their credentials & usage terms and limits) https://gist.github.com/michenriksen/8710649

Originally a 2012 list but updated to 2017 so most should still be operating can be found at https://www.ghacks.net/2012/05/31/the-ultimate-disposable-email-provider-list-2012/


Thankyou - most helpful.


Went to the US in 2017 - bought a tourist SIM from T-Mobile that lasted for 3 weeks (perfect timing) because we hired a car and needed it for navigation. I made the mistake of giving my email address (which they did not need) and since then I have been receiving lots of emails from legitimate US businesses. If in this situation again I will give a fake email address.

Gmail does a great job of sorting spam from the real stuff and at the moment I’m not getting a lot of “you have a trunk full of cash waiting for you in Dallas” (which I did for a while) but I am getting “thanks for joining pornhub, click here to unsubscribe”. Frustrating but manageable.