How We Handle Complaints

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Details of how we handle ad complaints and our complaint infrastructure

The following describes the manner in which we handle general complaints.

Please note that there are different ways in which ASCI handles complaints that have specific circumstances attached to them. A detailed procedure document can be accessed here.

Complaints to ASCI can be made by the general public, consumer organizations, the government or the industry. ASCI also takes suo motu cognizance of advertisements that may be in potential violation of the ASCI code.

ASCI has made it possible for easy ways in which complaints can be registered. Click here to know more.

When we receive a complaint, we first examine whether we have the remit to handle such a complaint. ASCI’s remit is restricted to the content of advertising. To know more about ASCI’s remit, click here.

ASCI does not accept anonymous complaints. However, the name of the complainant is not revealed to the advertiser, in case the complainant is from the general public. In exceptional circumstances, if the name needs to be revealed, we do so only after getting express permission to do so. In the case of intra industry complaints, or complaints from an interested party, the advertiser will be made aware of the complainant’s identity.

If the complaint is the kind that ASCI can provide a resolution for, we proceed to check if it is an advertisement that we have already processed in the past for the same or similar objections. If so, the complainant is provided details of our earlier recommendation. Else, we write to the advertiser asking them to respond within a specified time frame.

In some cases, the advertiser’s response may have technical data such as lab reports, market research data, linical test data etc. Such data is scrutinised by ASCI’s expert panel before it is sent for deliberations to the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).

Once the CCC deliberates on a case and issues its recommendations, the same is sent to the complainant and the advertiser. If the advertisement has been found in contravention of the ASCI code, the advertiser will need to modify or withdraw the advertisement within a stipulated time. All of ASCI’s recommendations are a matter of public record and can be accessed here.