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Centre issues new guidelines for preventing misleading advertisements in India

ANI | Updated: Jun 10, 2022 21:34 IST

New Delhi [India], June 10 (ANI): With an objective to curb misleading advertisements and protect the consumers who may be exploited or affected by such advertisements, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Department of Consumer Affairs has notified Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022.
The said guidelines seek to ensure that consumers are not fooled by unsubstantiated claims, exaggerated promises, misinformation and false claims of the advertisers. Such advertisements violate the various rights of consumers such as the Right to be Informed, the Right to Choose, and the Right to be Safeguarded against potentially unsafe products and services.
Talking to ANI about these guidelines, Secretary of Consumer Affairs Rohit Kumar Singh said, "We are trying to ensure that the company provides clarity on bait advertisements, surrogate advertisements and free claims advertisements."
"Also, the company will have to provide the criteria for an advertisement to be considered 'valid' and non-misleading and lay down the conditions to be complied with, while issuing bait and free claims advertisements," he continued.
According to Singh, the new guidelines enumerate various factors to be considered while publishing the advertisements, specifically the ones targeting children. "It shall not be as such to develop negative body image in children or give any impression that such goods, product or service is better than the natural or traditional food which children may be consuming. It also ensures various duties of manufacturer, service provider, advertiser and advertising agency," he added.
The new guidelines also say that the advertisements should indicate the source and date of independent research or assessment in case the claims in the advertisement are based on or are supported by such research or assessments.
Due diligence should be carried out while endorsing in advertisements must reflect the genuine, reasonably current opinion of the individual, group or organisation making such representation and must be based on adequate information about, or experience with, the identified goods, product or service, the guidelines said.
It directs to bring transparency in disclaimers in advertisements and the company shall not contradict the material claim made in the advertisement.
Guidelines also stipulated that the ad disclaimer should not attempt to hide material information with respect to any claim made in the ad, the omission or absence of which is likely to make it deceptive or conceal its commercial intent and shall not attempt to correct a misleading claim made in the advertisement.
Further, advertisers should make sure that the disclaimer and advertisement are in the same language and font.
Notably, the CCPA has been established under section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for regulating matters relating to violation of the rights of the consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements which are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers and to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, to CCPA, the Guidelines were notified. Misleading advertisement has already been defined under section 2(28) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The new guidelines also outline the penalty for violating them.
"CCPA can impose a penalty of upto Rs 10 lakh on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers for any misleading advertisements. For subsequent contraventions, CCPA may impose a penalty of upto Rs 50 lakh. The authority can prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from making any endorsement for upto 1 year and for subsequent contravention, prohibition can extend upto 3 years," it said. (ANI)