Consumer protection through responsible advertising

How do I complain?
Consumers should use the form below.
Companies should submit complaints via email to: complaint@arb.org.za
If you send us an email, please make sure you have read the information below very carefully.
 
What is advertising?
Anything that aims to promote the consumption or use of goods or services, or the support of a cause, that appears in any paid for form (usually, but not always) in the media, is advertising. These could include:
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Direct mail
  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Packaging
  • Posters
  • Billboards

 

What can I complain about?

The ARB accepts complaints about the content of advertising.
You should not complain to the ARB about:
  • Service-related issues
  • Something that a salesperson told you
  • Things that you read and hear that are not advertising
What must be in my complaint?
The Code of Advertising Practice states that your complaint must meet the following requirements:
  • You must complain in writing.
  • You must disclose your identity. We will NOT keep your identity a secret, although we will not share your contact details.
  • You must tell us:
  • Your contact details
  • Your identity or passport number.
  • Exactly WHY you are complaining. Remember that this explanation is what we will base our investigation on. We can ONLY consider what you tell us.
  • If the advertisement was on TV or radio, tell us when and where you saw or heard it.
  • If the ad was a poster or billboard or sign, tell us where you saw it and exactly what it said. If possible, send us a picture.
  • If the ad was in print media, you need to send us an example or picture of the ad.
  • If you have it, give us the contact name, email or telephone number of the advertiser.
If it’s been a few days and you don’t hear from us – give us a shout. It’s up to you to check that we have received your complaint.
Will I have to pay?
If you are a consumer, you can lodge the complaint for free
If you have any business interest in the complaint – which is most likely if you are a competitor of the advertiser – you must pay to lodge a complaint.

How much will a business competitor pay?

The ARB charges filing fees when a business lodges a complaint against another business. Marketers who fund the ARB pay a lower filing fee than marketers who do not fund the ARB. To benefit from the lower fees, the marketer must have paid at least one cycle of funding before lodging the complaint.

FEES FOR ARB CONTRIBUTORS FEES FOR NON-CONTRIBUTORS

ZAR Ex/In VAT ZAR Ex/In VAT
Filing fee 10,000 11,500 25,000 28,750
Advertising Appeals Committee (AAC) 40,000 46,000
60,000
69,000
FAC Appeal 70,000 80,500
90,000
103,500
Application for suspension of ruling 10,000 11,500
15,000
17,250
New substantiation 7,000 8,050
9,000
10,350
Arbitration (Filing fee plus arbitrator fee) 10,000
11,500
15,000
17,250

The successful party in an Advertising Appeals Committee (AAC) matter receives a R30,000 refund, and for a Final Appeal Committee (FAC) matter a R40 000 refund – regardless of whether they are a contributor or not.

Consumers are not required to pay a fee to lodge an appeal, and Respondents will not be required to pay to oppose consumer appeals.

 

What will happen if my complaint is successful?

The ARB’s media members and affiliates will be asked to stop carrying the particular advertising. If the advertiser is a member, they will also be told to stop running the advertising. Often, an advertiser who is not a member will nonetheless comply with the request.

We will NOT get you the advertised product at the advertised price; nor will we procure you a refund.

 

When can I expect a decision?

We aim to finalise your file within a maximum of 30 days. Sometimes a matter becomes complicated, and the resolution takes longer.

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