Cross-border complaint

What is a Cross-border complaint?

Cross-border complaint – Complaint by an individual or organization based in one country about an advertisement circulating in that country but carried in media based in another.

EASA’s Cross-Border Complaints system has been in operation since 1992 and was set up in response to the forthcoming European Single Market and the need to address complaints and issues arising from advertising circulating in one EU Member State but carried in media originating in another.

An example would be a consumer in Hungary complaining about an online advert which was published on a website by an Irish company. The EASA CBC system provides a complainant with the same redress available to consumers in the country of origin of the media in which the advertisement appears.

The ‘Country of Origin’ principle, a concept enshrined in EU law to facilitate the growth of the Single Market, is at the basis of the EASA CBC system. Following this principle, an advertisement must comply with the rules of the country where the media that published it, is based. There are some exceptions to this principle: in case of direct marketing (postal and telephone marketing), digital marketing communications and online behavioural advertising, the advertisement must follow the rules of the country where the advertiser is based.

The advent of new forms of media using internet technologies combined with the use of mobile phones, television and other media devices has opened up many new ways to advertise. The concept of new media is constantly evolving and, as these media are adopted and used particularly by young people, care is needed to ensure that such advertising is responsible.


In addition to the general principles of legal, decent, honest and truthful and socially responsible marketing communications, the 2018 International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice incorporates an entire chapter (Chapter D) setting standards for responsible marketing communications to be followed by all the stakeholders involved in advertising practices using digital interactive media.

In October 2008, EASA published a Digital Marketing Communications Best Practice Recommendation to extend the remit of self-regulatory organisations to include digital marketing communications. EASA re-opened and updated this document in 2015 to ensure advertising standards remain effective and relevant when it comes to the ever-changing digital landscape and interactive marketing techniques.

The Best Practice Recommendation has been ‘futureproofed’ against new technological developments in advertising. An emphasis has been placed on the need for all marketing communications to be easily identifiable for consumers, no matter where or how they are displayed. The updated Recommendation is the result of extensive discussions involving self-regulatory organisations, the ad ecosystem (representatives of advertisers, agencies and the full media spectrum) as well as key external stakeholders. EASA also engaged with the Commission’


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