Complaints & compliance

Complaints procedure
Important information you should read before filing a complaint

What complaints does ESOMAR handle?

The ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee (PSC) examines complaints lodged against ESOMAR members in relation to possible breaches of the ICC/ESOMAR International Code.

ESOMAR members are individuals that have undersigned to abide by the ICC/ESOMAR International Code and ESOMAR’s disciplinary procedures. All ESOMAR members are subject to the disciplinary process.

All complaints must relate to the actions of an ESOMAR member, i.e. complaints regarding projects that an ESOMAR member is responsible for, or for the staff involved. Please use the members search to see if an individual is an ESOMAR member.

All complaints must be supported by documented evidence. The disciplinary procedures allow ESOMAR to impose sanctions if the member is found to be in breach of the ICC/ESOMAR International Code. Sanctions range from private warnings, to expulsion from membership and publication of the sanction imposed on the member.

What complaints does ESOMAR not handle?

There are some issues that the disciplinary procedures do not cover. Examples include:

  • Complaints about someone who is not an ESOMAR member and is therefore not subject to the disciplinary procedures. However, in exceptional circumstances, ESOMAR may take specific action to protect members, the reputation of market research or of ESOMAR. Please use the members search to see if an individual is an ESOMAR member.
  • Legal issues such as contractual, payment and employment issues which are better dealt with through commercial or legal means. Action may be considered, however, in circumstances where the activities surrounding these issues appear to establish a pattern of behaviour by a member that may damage the reputation of the market research profession.
  • National complaints that would normally be dealt with by the national association. ESOMAR may respond if there is no national association or the national association cannot handle the complaint and asks ESOMAR to assist. Please use the associations search to find the contact details of your national association.
  • If you are unsure whether the ESOMAR disciplinary procedures cover your complaint, please send your query to for review.


Who can make a complaint?

Any firm, company, business, association or private individual directly concerned by a possible breach of the ICC/ESOMAR International Code by an ESOMAR member.

The complaints procedure

Please note that complaints will be assessed against the ICC/ESOMAR International Code and must be supported by evidence.

Before making a complaint please refer to the ICC/ESOMAR International Code, the related Notes and to the disciplinary procedures.

ESOMAR also publishes guidelines on specific subjects, such as online research which are based on the key fundamentals of our Code. Please go to the Codes & guidelines section to review our guidelines.

Download a copy of the complaint form.

Topics and trends in complaints

Over the course of 2015 ESOMAR received 60 complaints. As this is more than double the amount of complaints received in 2014 and 5 times the amount of complaints received in 2013, an analysis of the topics and trends in complaints will be done yearly for ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee (PSC). These reports cover a top-level overview of the discussions and decisions on topics and trends as discussed by the Disciplinary subCommittee to the PSC, including graphs and statistics.

ESOMAR Complaints Report 2015
.pdf (4 MB)

Before sending in your complaint

  • Have you checked if your complaint is about an ESOMAR member?
  • Have you provided a brief summary of your complaint and which article of the ICC/ESOMAR International Code you believe the member has breached?
  • Have you included copies of relevant documentation as evidence supporting your complaint (e.g. any previous correspondence, research proposals etc)?
  • Before lodging a formal complaint, please note that you may contact us for informal assistance or with queries at: