Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the apex industry body that self regulates the content of advertisements in the country, is all geared up to introduce a new procedure to fast track redressal of complaints lodged by industry members. To be effective from September 1, the fast track procedure seeks to provide a speedy resolution to intra-industry complaints.
On receipt of such a complaint, 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 appearance, along with the complainant, 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 complaint.
The whole process, from receiving the complaint to the decision of the FTCC, is expected to be finished within seven working days. After that, the secretary general will communicate the decision of the FTCC to the parties concerned. If the complaint is upheld, the advertiser will have to communicate the decision to withdraw the ad to the media concerned within two working days from the notification of the FTCC's decision.
In an official communiqué, Alan Collaco, secretary general, ASCI, says, "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."
The new fast track procedure will be reviewed by the ASCI board after four-six months of its commencement. As per 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 procedure.