1. When you lodge a complaint with the ARB we request certain information. This is to ascertain, as far as possible, that you are a real person, that you are not a competitor pretending to be a consumer and that multiple complaints do in fact come from separate individuals.
  2. We share your name with the Advertiser against whom you complained, and we publish your name in our decisions, if the matter reaches that point. If you do not wish for this to occur, you need to withdraw your complaint.
  3. We do not share any of your other information without your permission.
  4. Your information is securely stored on our server.
  5. You may at any time request details about what information we have about you.
  6. We may from time to time use your information to examine complaint trends based on demographics. In doing so, we will at no time link your name to such trends analysis.
  7. You may at any time before a decision is made, withdraw the complaint and ask us to erase your data.
  8. However, once a decision is made, we are required to keep a full record for our legal protection in the event that the matter is challenged at a later stage.
  9. You may contact info@arb.org.za for any information in this regard at any time.

Consumer protection through responsible advertising

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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 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 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. This could include:
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Direct mail
  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Packaging
  • Posters
  • Billboards


What must be in my complaint?
The Code of Advertising Practice requires the following details:
  • 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 haven't heard from us – give us a shout.
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.


Excl. VAT Incl. VAT Excl. VAT Incl. VAT
Filing fee R10,000 R11,500 R25,000 R28,750
Advertising Appeals Committee (AAC) R40,000 R46,000 R60,000 R69,000
Final Appeal Committee (FAC) R70,000 R80,500 R90,000 R103,500
Application for suspension of ruling R10,000 R11,500 R15,000 R17,250
New substantiation R7,000 R8,050 R9,000 R10,350
Arbitration(Filing fee plus arbitrator fee) R10,000 R11,500 R15,000 R17,250
Breach complaint to AAC 5000 5800 7000 8050
Breach complaint to FAC R6,000 R6,900 R8,000 R9,200

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 and when can I expect a decision?

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.

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