EU Pledge member companies are committed to dialogue with stakeholders and consumers. If you wish to comment on the EU Pledge commitments, share your views and suggestions, or bring specific marketing practices to the attention of member companies, please contact the EU Pledge Secretariat.
The EU Pledge allows members of the public and organisations to question the compliance of EU Pledge members’ marketing communications with the EU Pledge commitment. If you wish to make a complaint regarding a commercial communication that you believe might be in breach of the EU Pledge commitment, please click here.
Panel decisions are available here
How does the Accountability Mechanism work in practice?
Members of the public/organisations are invited to fill in this complaint form. The form is in English but can be completed in any EU language. While it is necessary to include a name and an email address to allow the Secretariat to contact you, in accordance with our privacy statement and applicable law, your information with not be shared with third-parties, including the experts involved and EU Pledge members. Please upload a screenshot or a photo of the ad that you think might be in breach of the EU Pledge.
- Once you have completed and submitted the form you will receive an email. The EU Pledge Secretariat will assess whether your complaint falls within the scope of the EU Pledge commitment and will come back to you within 10 working days.
- If the complaint falls outside the scope of the EU Pledge commitment (if it is not related to a marketing communication for a non-compliant product or if it is related to a company which is not a signatory), it will be not be further processed.
- If the complaint is within the scope of the commitment, the EU Pledge Secretariat will inform the member on the complaint received. The EU Pledge member then has 10 working days to take corrective action. Once carried out, the Secretariat will inform the complainant of the latter.
- If the complainant accepts the corrective action, the case will be closed and not be brought to the panel of experts. The settlement decisions will be published on the Accountability Mechanism website.
- If no corrective action has been taken, or the complainant wants to proceed with the complaint, the EU Pledge Secretariat will send the complaint anonymously to an external Panel of 3 experts (selected from a pool of 9 experts appointed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance – EASA). The 9 experts come from advertising standards organisations but are appointed in their own name.
- The Panel will render a decision within 20 working days following reception of the complaint from the EU Pledge Secretariat.
- The EU Pledge Secretariat will communicate the decision to both sides (the complainant and the company concerned) which will have 10 working days to appeal it under the following conditions:
- Additional evidence;
- Evidence of a substantial flaw of procedure and/or adjudication.
- In the case of a valid appeal from one or both sides, the complaint will be sent to an appeal panel of 3 experts (the majority of which was not part of the original Panel which provided the first decision) which will render a decision within 15 working days.
- The Secretariat will inform both parties of the decision. If the company is found to be in breach, it will have 15 working days to amend its marketing communication and to provide evidence of the corrective action. Failure to comply will trigger further action and sanctions.
- All decisions and corrective actions will be published on the EU Pledge website.
- What are the costs? The system is free of charge for complainants.
- What if multiple complaints are filed concerning a single marketing communication? Complaints on an identical issue will be considered as a single complaint.
- I have made a complaint, when should I expect an answer? The EU Pledge Secretariat will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and get back to you regarding the admissability of your complaint within 10 working days of the acknowledgement of receipt.
- When should I expect a decision? Complaints will be investigated and adjudicated upon within two months of receipt of the complaint. However, since some questions might be more complex than others, this timeframe allows for exceptions.
- Do you make the decisions of the Panel public? Yes all decisions are available here. You will find relevant information for each case including the process, decision and corrective action, except the name and contact details of the complainant.
- What does the EU Pledge commitment cover? The EU Pledge covers signatories’ marketing communications to children under the age of 12 on TV, online (brand websites, third-party websites, social media, apps), in cinema, DVD/CD-ROM, direct marketing, product placement, outdoor marketing, mobile, SMS marketing and advertising in primary schools. For a complaint to be receivable, the marketing communication must feature a product such as confectionery, chocolate-based products or soft drinks or a product which do not meet the EU Pledge nutrition criteria (e.g. yoghurts, ready meals or ice-creams which do not meet specific nutrition thresholds).
- What does it not cover? The EU Pledge commitment does not cover packaging, in-store and point of sale as well as forms of marketing communications which are not under the direct control of the brand owner, such as user-generated content. Marketing communications from non-EU Pledge signatories are also excluded.
- What should I do if I have a question which falls outside the remit of the EU Pledge commitment? You will find here a list of the national advertising self-regulatory organisations in the EU. Click on the relevant one (where you saw the ad) if you want to bring a marketing communication to attention of the local organisation.
- Who are the nine experts who assess complaints? The nine experts come from the national advertising self-regulatory organisations in Bulgaria (NCSR), France (ARPP), Germany (DWR), Hungary (ÖRT), Ireland (ASAI), Spain (AUTOCONTROL), Sweden (RO.), the Netherlands (SRC) and the UK (ASA/CAP), but are appointed in their own name. They are remunerated by EASA for their work.
Personal information which you supply to us may be used in a number of ways, for example:
- We may share your information with other organisations within the Accountability programme in order that your complaint is processed and handled.
- We may put general Information about your complaint onto a non-public database of complaints but without your personal details.
- We may publish general information and details about the case you are complaining about.
- We will never disclose your personal information to any company, nor publish it.
- Your personal data including contact details will be removed from our records maximum one year after the case has been closed.
- The EU Pledge Secretariat and its partners involved in the Accountability Mechanism take their responsibilities on the confidentiality of your personal information very seriously.
Where your data is held
Your personal data is held on secure servers in the EU operated by the EU Pledge Secretariat and agencies contracted by it.
Personal data is collected and stored securely subject to stringent security measures and is protected against misuse. When we use external data processing services, the EU Pledge Secretariat does so only under strict contractual terms to mirror the security policies that we have in place.
What we do and don’t do with your data
We shall process the data you supply to give you information and advice about your complaint. We may use information supplied by you to investigate compliance with the EU Pledge Commitments and to seek assurance of compliance with those. We may need to transfer your personal data on to the relevant third party to administer your complaint. We will not share your data for marketing purposes.
Access to your information
You have the right to ask the EU Pledge Secretariat for a copy of the personal information it holds about you and to correct any inaccuracies in that information. If you would like access to your information, know more about how your information is used, update your personal data, or have any complaints about how we have used your personal data, please contact us.