Make A Complaint
How to complain and who to complain to…
The marketing and media industries have specialist bodies that are responsible for regulation and self regulation in different areas. This page can help you find the right organisation to talk to, so before you make a complaint, check whether your issue is the responsibility of a different group. We also have a useful links section on this website which may be helpful.
If we are the right people to complain to then simply complete our online complaints form and look at our complaint process here. Remember that there are some steps that you should take first. You should make a formal complaint to the company concerned to explain your dissatisfaction and seek to reach a resolution to your problem. If you feel that your complaint has not been adequately resolved it can then be brought to our attention. Complaints should be notified to the Commission no more than three months after the date they were taken up with the company. There is no cost to you when you make a complaint. However, you should note that the Commission is unable to become involved in matters of financial compensation – this lies outside its remit.
Please ensure you take care in completing the Complaints Form so that we get the right information we need to deal with your complaint and minimize delays.
Here’s a simple overview of areas which may be covered by other organisations….
The Non-broadcast and Broadcast Advertising Codes cover advertisements across media, sales promotions and direct marketing communications. The Codes are policed by the Advertising Standards Authority which has a well established mechanism for investigating complaints. If your concern is about the content of advertising you have seen (including marketing on websites), then the ASA is your first port of call. If the goods you have ordered have not been delivered, you have not received a refund due or you think a promotion is unfair, untrue or misleading, you should also address your complaint to the ASA but if the company in question is a member of the DMA (for a list of members www.dma.org.uk) then please make a complaint to us.
There are other areas that also fall under the CAP/BCAP Codes. If you are in doubt then please contact us or the ASA.
You can record your preference not to receive unwanted marketing and advertising mail to your home on the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). Although this is not a legal requirement, registering on MPS will stop about 95% of unwanted direct mail. Many people who register have suffered a bereavement and they just want to stop future commercial mailings from being sent to the deceased.
Emails and texts
Organisations in the UK and throughout the European Union are only allowed to email or text you if you have given them permission to do so, or if you have purchased goods and services from them in the past. You can always withdraw your permission, and every commercial email or text should by law offer you the opportunity to ‘unsubscribe’. For spam email or texts contact the Information Commissioner.
Organisations are required by law to ensure the personal information they hold about you is accurate, up-to-date and kept securely. You can find out what information is held about you by writing to the organisation and asking it to provide you with a copy of all the personal information about you. This is known as a Subject Access Request. The company may charge you an administration fee up to a maximum of £10 for providing this information. They must provide you with a copy of this information within 40 days of you supplying all requested information and payment of the fee.
The Fax Preference Service (FPS) is a central opt-out register where businesses can register their choice not to receive unsolicited sales & marketing faxes. Individuals may also register on FPS. It is against the law to send a fax to an individual unless they have given their permission.
All UK firms conducting financial services businesses in the UK must by law register with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). For example, if you are not happy about the credentials of the man who came round to sell you some cover on your household appliances, if you have the name of the firm and the postcode, you can check online that the firm is authorised for insurance products.
Fraudulent or criminal activity
If you are concerned that a company is acting fraudulently or criminally, you can contact your local police or local trading standards office.
www.tradingstandards.gov.uk or you can contact www.actionfraud.org.uk.
Newspapers and magazines
If you’re concerned about the content of an article in a newspaper or magazine (whether you see it in their print or online editions), then the Press Complaints Commission is the place to contact. The PCC is the independent organisation monitoring British newspapers and magazines to ensure they adhere to ethical guidelines. They deal with issues such as inaccuracy and privacy.
Phone bills/pre-pay accounts
PhonepayPlus is the organisation that regulates products or services that are charged to users’ phone bills or pre-pay accounts.
If you want to complain about services or products which are charged to your phone bills or pre-pay phone account, then contact PPP. These could include competitions, TV voting, helplines, adult entertainment, downloads, new alerts or interactive games – that are charged to your phone bills or pre-pay phone account.
If you receive a mailing which you think is a scam, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service (launched on 2 April). It provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 (Welsh language service: 08454 04 05 05).
This service replaces Consumer Direct as part of the Government’s plans announced in Empowering and protecting consumers (June 2011) to simplify the ‘bewildering array of public, private and voluntary bodies, which often duplicate efforts to inform, educate and advise consumers of their rights.’
Silent calls are generated by automatic dialling equipment which dial more numbers than there are operators available to take the calls. These types of calls are annoying and irritating and they can cause worry and anxiety. If you are receiving silent calls you can complain here if the company in question is a member of the DMA (visit www.dma.org.uk for a list of members) or you can contact OFCOM and complain online.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the central opt-out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales & marketing telephone calls to your home or mobile telephone. It is against the law to telephone someone registered on the TPS unless they have given permission. If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls the contact the Telephone Preference Service
Telephone calls to businesses
The Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) is the central opt out register where corporate subscribers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls to either all their organisation’s telephone numbers, or to certain numbers. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the CTPS.
For details on how you can exercise ‘your choice’ and ask distribution companies, who are members of the DMA, to stop delivering unaddressed mail to your home visit www.dma.org.uk/sectors/d2d-choice.asp for further details.
You can stop receiving unaddressed mail delivered by Royal Mail to your home by emailing your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. However, it is not possible for Royal Mail to separate material you don’t want from material that you do want, such as advertising offers or leaflets from Central and Local Government and other public bodies. Election material is not delivered by the Door to Door service and is therefore not affected by this opt-out. Royal Mail only delivers about 25% of the total volume of unaddressed mail items in the UK.