The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with advertising.

Who do I go to?

The Advertising Standards Authority(external link) if you are unhappy about the content of advertisements.

The Disputes Tribunal OR the District Court(external link) to claim for any losses you have suffered as a result of the advertising or media content being inaccurate or unfair.

The Commerce Commission(external link) if you wish to report a business for false or misleading advertising under the Fair Trading Act.

What kind of problems do they handle?

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) sets the standards for advertisements in the ASA Codes of Practice. This includes:

  • advertising in TV commercials or billboards
  • emails or texts promoting products, services or an opportunity
  • labelling, packaging, promotion and  sponsorship attached to products.

If you think that an advertisement doesn’t meet those standards, you can complain to the ASA. This includes complaints about:

  • good taste and decency
  • children’s interests and content that is socially irresponsible
  • violence, illegal content
  • discrimination
  • accuracy, balance, fairness or privacy.

The Commerce Commission is responsible for enforcing the Fair Trading Act and making sure businesses comply.

What do I need to do?

  1. Contact the broadcaster, editor, online author or publisher to try to resolve the issue.
  2. If you’re not happy with their response to your complaint, make a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB)(external link) or the Commerce Commission(external link) as appropriate.
  3. If you wish to get compensation or a refund, you will have to bring a claim in the Disputes Tribunal  or the District Court(external link).

What else do I need to consider?

The complaint processes are free.

if you make a formal complaint to the ASCB, you have to agree not to make a complaint in any other forum.

If the ASCB upholds your complaint, the advertisement will be banned. However the ASCB does not have the authority to award financial compensation, damages or get you a refund.

Where can I get more information?

Advertising Standards Authority

Provides information on codes of practice for advertising in New Zealand and how to make a complaint.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 AD HELP (234 357)

The Commerce Commission

Provides information how to make a complaint if you feel a business is not complying with the Fair Trading Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 943 600