Make a complaint
Advertisers making a complaint about another advertiser will be required to provide evidence that they have tried to resolve their complaints with their competitor before we will agree to take on the complaint.
We believe that this process will assist in resolving some complaints in a prompt fashion and with the minimum of formality and cost for all parties.
In general, competitors will need to follow these steps:
1. A competitor who wishes to make a complaint should raise their concerns with the advertiser, ideally by registered post, or by another means of communication which will guarantee swift receipt. The complaint must provide an appropriate degree of detail in relation to the claim and medium in which it appeared, together with the factual basis for the complaint.
2. The complaint should, ordinarily, be signed or authorised by a suitably authorised senior officer of the competitor complainant (e.g. CEO, Legal, Marketing or Regulatory Director), who takes responsibility for the accuracy of its content, and should be addressed to a senior officer or other appropriate contact of the advertiser.
3. If the complaint is about an on-line marketing communication, the competitor who complains should obtain a screen shot of the page or pages that relate to the complaint or otherwise secure a cached copy of the website.
4. The competitor complainant should allow five working days for a substantive response. If, at the end of this period, the advertiser has not opened a substantive dialogue or the parties cannot reach an agreement, the complainant may then submit a complaint to us.
5. When submitting the complaint to the ASA, a copy of the registered letter setting out the concerns should be submitted, with a copy of the complete response (if any) from the advertiser. 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.
We accept that there may be rare occasions when a competitor complainant will have a good reason not to correspond with an advertiser. In these cases we will retain the discretion to bypass this procedure, if we believe the complainant raises a potentially serious breach of the Advertising Codes, or if there are other good reasons to believe that inter-party resolution of the complaint is not appropriate.
We take every step to make sure the process is fair, which is why there is an Independent Review Procedure that allows complainants and advertisers to request a review of a ruling.
You can also read our detailed complaints handling procedure for both broadcast and non-broadcast advertising. If you still have questions, call/textphone us to discuss your complaint. Our contact details can be found here.
Complaining about an overseas ad?
Then your complaint will be treated as a cross-border complaint. Read more here