Ad Standards offers an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve competitor complaints.
The Ad Standards Industry Jury is user-pays service available to Australian businesses seeking to make a complaint against a competitor about matters involving the truth, accuracy or legality of advertising.
The Ad Standards Industry Jury:
- is comprised of variable panels of lawyers who have experience and expertise in advertising and/or competition and consumer law
- offers an alternative mechanism for dealing with complaints between competitors in respect of advertising that might otherwise lead to litigation
- is quick, cost effective and reliable.
Any Australian business can make a complaint against a competitor under Section 1 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics.
The Industry Jury service is not available to the general community. Complaints from the general community about advertising must be lodged here.
What types of complaints can be made?
The Industry Jury accepts complaints about all forms of advertising.
The Industry Jury determines complaints having regard to Section 1 of the AANA Code of Ethics which states that advertising or marketing communication shall:
- comply with Commonwealth law and the law of the relevant State or Territory
- not be misleading or deceptive or be likely to mislead or deceive
- not contain a misrepresentation, which is likely to cause damage to the business or goodwill of a competitor
- not exploit community concerns in relation to protecting the environment by presenting or portraying distinctions in products or services advertised in a misleading way or in a way which implies a benefit to the environment which the product or services do not have, and
- not make claims about the Australian origin or content of products advertised in a manner which is misleading.
The Industry Jury does not adjudicate on matters involving labels or packaging for products or public relations communications.
How to submit a competitor complaint
How much does it cost?
The Industry Jury is a user-pays service. The total cost is based on the complexity of the complaint.
The complainant is required to pay upfront:
- a non-refundable application fee of $1,100 (incl. GST); and
- a lump sum representing an estimate of the legal and administrative costs of the process.
Ad Standards will provide an estimate of the initial costs of the case, which is payable before the process can proceed. Initial costs typically range between around $20,000 to $25,000 (incl GST) depending on the length and complexity of the complaint.
The complainant also agrees to pay all costs associated with the process – for example if it takes longer or is more complex than initially assessed and is required to pay additional costs as advised.
Who is the Industry Jury?
The Industry Jury is made up of a variable panel of three lawyers who specialise in advertising law and/or competition and consumer law. The panel of lawyers are appointed on a case-by-case basis from a register of lawyers, having regard to availability and any conflicts of interest.
If you are a lawyer interested in joining the Industry Jury register of lawyers, please complete and submit the applicant form.
Will the decision be binding?
The Industry Jury forms part of the advertising self-regulatory system. While there are no legal obligations, Ad Standards has a high level of compliance with decisions.
We publish all final case reports on our website, identifying the advertiser, the product and the subject matter involved, and describing the final decision and the reasoning behind it.
Where an advertiser does not modify or discontinue an ad which has been found to be in breach of the Code of Ethics, the Industry Jury may refer the case to an appropriate government agency, such as the ACCC.
How long does it take?
The Industry Jury process generally takes approximately 12 weeks from the date when the initial costs are paid, to the date on which Industry Jury decision is published.
The timeframe, however, depends on the complexity of the case, the volume of material to be reviewed, and the timeliness of responses from the parties.