The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the apex industry body that self regulates the content of advertisements in the country, is introducing a new procedure to fast track redressal of complaints lodged by industry members. Effective September 1, 2011, the fast track procedure will seek to provide a speedy resolution to intra industry complaints.
Any Advertiser Category ASCI member company, which wishes to lodge a complaint against an ad of another ASCI Advertiser Category member company under the Fast Track procedure, will be required to notify ASCI accordingly. The Office of the Secretary General of ASCI will reach out to the advertiser complained against, within one working day of receiving the complaint, asking for a written response and to be present alongwith the complainant for appearance before the Fast Track Complaints Council (FTCC).
On the fourth working day from the date of sending the complaint communication to the advertiser, the FTCC, a 14-member panel, nominated from the existing 21 Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) members will be responsible for adjudicating the Fast Track Complaints. The whole process from receiving the complaint to the decision of the FTCC is expected to take no more than seven working days.
The Secretary General will communicate the decision of the FTCC to the parties concerned. If the complaint is upheld then the Advertiser will have to communicate the decision to withdraw the ad to the media concerned within two working days from notification of the FTCC’s decision.
In a prepared statement, Alan Collaco, Secretary General, ASCI, said, “With the introduction of the Fast Track procedure, ASCI aims to provide a platform for member advertisers to quickly resolve intra industry complaints against ads through industry self regulation process instead of seeking expensive court litigation. ASCI has a rigorous Advertising Code and effective complaint redressal process that has withstood the test of time as its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), consisting of eminent persons from various walks of life, independently goes into the merits of every complaint.”
The fast track procedure will be reviewed by the ASCI board for a period of 4 to 6 months of its commencement. Basis the results and experience, the Secretary General and the FTCC will make recommendations to the ASCI Board for making appropriate amendments, if any, to the Fast Track Procedure.