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Make a complaint

First, check whether your complaint is covered by the ASA.  Find out what we cover, or if you're still not sure, call us to discuss your complaint.

If it is, submit your complaint online, or telephone, or write to us.

If you intend to raise multiple points of complaint, please focus your concerns and limit your complaint to what you feel are the three most important issues. If we decide to proceed with a formal investigation, we will investigate a maximum of three points in most cases, in line with the ASA’s commitment to focus its resources in the most impactful way. Find out more.

The names of those who make a complaint are kept confidential from the advertiser, unless you are asking us to have your name taken off a mailing list or the complaint is from an individual, competitor or organisation with obvious interest in the outcome of the complaint (such as consumer bodies and pressure groups).

We’ll give you the name of the person who will handle the case and be your point of contact. They will assess your complaint against the Advertising Codes and, if it is clear the Codes have not been breached, they’ll let you know. If it looks like there might be a problem, they will consider the issues against our prioritisation principles to decide what activity we should undertake, in response. Under these principles we will:

  • consider what harm or detriment has occurred or might occur;
  • balance the risk of taking action versus inaction;
  • consider the likely impact of our intervention; and
  • consider what resource would be proportionate to the problem to be tackled.

    We prefer to work by persuasion and consensus so, where appropriate, we will resolve complaints informally. For example, we might provide advice and guidance or seek agreement that an ad will be changed or withdrawn. Informally resolved cases are not put before the ASA Council and no ruling is published, so it means we can resolve problems far more quickly than by a full formal investigation. If we consider that a formal investigation is necessary, the case will be presented to the ASA Council to make a final ruling.

    This leaflet provides a straight forward guide to our process Making a complaint.

    You can also read our detailed complaints handling procedure for both broadcast and non-broadcast advertising.  

    Complaining about an overseas ad?

    Then your complaint will be treated as a cross-border complaint. Read more here.

    Making a complaint about Operation Black Vote

    Claims in non-broadcast ads such as this, whose principal function is to influence voters in a local, national or international election or referendum are exempt from the CAP Code.  Broadcast political advertising is prohibited in the UK.  Ofcom is responsible for considering whether TV or radio ads have been directed towards a political end or placed by an individual or organisation whose aims are of a political nature.  Complaints about political bias in broadcast ads should be made to Ofcom.

    Please do not submit a complaint to us about political material such as Operation Black Vote, as we won’t be able to take any action under the Advertising Codes.

    You might want to read our news article which provides a bit more information on the issue of political advertising, including background on why political campaign material in the UK is not regulated.   

    Make a complaint

  • Dealing with complaints - FAQs

    We work hard to ensure our complaints procedures are transparent. Here we answer some commonly asked questions about how we handle complaints.

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    Find out what types of ads we deal with and how to make a complaint.

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