How to make a complaint about advertising

Am I in the right place?

You are in the right place if your concern is about the advertising of a registered health practitioner or the advertising of a regulated health service. Information on how to make a complaint about advertising can be found below.

However, if your concern is about the health, performance or conduct of a registered health practitioner or student, go to the ‘Concerned about a health practitioner?’ page on the Ahpra website for more information.

Am I in the right place?

Examples of advertising complaints we can consider:

  • misleading use of titles such as ‘specialist’ and ‘Dr’
  • advertising treatments without supporting evidence
  • gifts, discounts or offers without terms and conditions
  • testimonials

Examples of advertising complaints we can’t consider:

  • trademark or other business disputes
  • advertising of medicines e.g. Botox or medical devices e.g. x-rays
  • private health insurance

For help with issues that we can’t consider you may like to contact the following:

Concerns about: Who may be able to help
The advertising of medicines and medical devices Therapeutic Goods Administration
The advertising of private health insurance Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
Business disputes Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Trademark disputes IP Australia

Tips on completing the advertising complaint form

When completing the complaint form, please include as many details as possible. This helps us assess the complaint. You will be asked to provide information in the complaint form including:

  • the name of the advertiser (e.g. the name of the practitioner or clinic)
  • your details in case we need to ask you more questions about the advertising
  • if possible, a copy of the advertising as you viewed it (e.g. a ‘screen-shot’ from the internet or a photocopy of a flyer or publication)
  • the name of the publication and the date published, if it was print advertising
  • details of your concerns about the advertising.

What advertising complaints can we consider?

Ahpra has a responsibility to protect the public. This means that we take all complaints received about advertising regulated health services seriously. 

Any person or organisation can make a complaint to Ahpra if they have concerns about the advertising of a regulated health service. Advertising of regulated health services must not:

  • be false misleading or deceptive
  • offer a gift, discount or inducement unless the terms and conditions of the offer are also stated
  • use testimonials or purported testimonials
  • create an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
  • directly or indirectly encourage the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services. 

See advertising and the law and resources for advertisers for more information about the advertising requirements and how advertisers must comply with these requirements.

Breaches of the advertising requirements are criminal offences. To make a complaint about advertising, complete the criminal offences form below. Breaches of the advertising requirements that are assessed as a low risk or medium risk to the public may be managed by an administrative process, rather than through a court process. 

You can also call Ahpra on 1300 419 495 for further information on making a complaint about advertising. 

See how we manage advertising complaints for more information about the complaints process for breaches of the advertising requirements.

See reporting a criminal offence for more information about other criminal offences that can be reported to Ahpra, including: 

  • unlawful use of protected titles 
  • claims by individuals or organisation about registration, and
  • protected practices – what we call performing a restricted act.
 
 
 
Page reviewed 9/02/2021