Mumbai: In November 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 100 out of 152 advertisements. Out of 100 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 43 belonged to the Healthcare category, 17 to the Education category, followed by 11 in Personal Care Category, 7in the Food & Beverages category, 6 in the E-Commerce Category and 16 advertisements from other categories.
The following are some of the Key Highlights where CCC found the claims of advertisements related to products or services in various sectors that are either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code:
In November 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 100 out of 152 advertisements. Out of 100 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 43 belonged to the Healthcare category, 17 to the Education category, followed by 11 in Personal Care Category, 7 in the Food & Beverages category, 6 in the E-Commerce Category and 16 advertisements from other categories.
1. Amazon India (HTC Desire 620G Dual Sim): For the product, HTC Desire 620G Dual Sim being sold on Amazon India, the website communication claiming the MRP of the product as Rs.14,900 is false. The advertisement offering at the discounted price of Rs.7375, when the actual MRP of the product is Rs.9990, distorts facts and is therefore misleading the consumers as to actual discount being offered.
2. Cleartrip Pvt. Ltd. (Cleartrip): It was noted that the claim offer (voice over in the advertisement), “Lock a flight for today and pay only if your plan is confirmed. Even if the fare increases you still pay only the locked fare”, does not state that the user has to pay an additional non-refundable Price lock fee to lock the flight fare. It was concluded that the advertisement is misleading by omission of information that Lock in feature is subject to several terms and conditions.
3. Magicbricks.com (Magic Bricks): The advertisement’s claim, “Your trust has made us India’s No. 1 property site”, is misleading by ambiguity and implication. It was noted that as per ComScore data presented by the advertiser, Magicbricks.com has been the leading property site in the category in terms of total unique visitors from January 2015 to January 2016. However, it was observed that the wording of the leadership claim in the advertisement is ambiguous. Also, as the unique visits to the portal in themselves do not substantiate the leadership claim as it does not quantify the total number of properties displayed or sold via this platform and the productivity score in comparison to other property portals and hence the leadership claim is subject to interpretation. It was also noted that the disclaimer in the advertisement is not in compliance with the ASCI guidelines on disclaimer as it is not legible and is misleading by ambiguity as it uses the term “As per Comscore Total UV January 2015 to January 2016” as stated by the advertiser. The disclaimer should not attempt to hide material information with respect to the claim, the omission/absence of which is likely to make the advertisement deceptive or conceal its commercial intent.
1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Lakme Youth Infinity Range of Products): The advertisement’s claims, “The new Lakme Youth Infinity range keeps the contoured look of youth”, and “Percentages of women who have experienced the sculpting power of Lakme Youth Infinity Day Crème*” were not substantiated and are misleading.
- Marico Ltd. (Parachute Advanced Coconut Hair Oil): The advertisement’s voice over claim, “Parachute Advanced apnaiye aur paiye World’s Best Hair”, is an absolute claim which is not substantiated. Also, the claim is misleading by gross exaggeration and a misrepresentation regarding the product benefit.
FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. (Horlicks Oats): The advertisement’s claim, “Helps Manage Healthy Blood Pressure”, by the advertiser is quite different from the International approach by the USFDA or EFSA wherein the claim itself refers to the “low sodium” feature and presents the benefit more as a “possibility” than an “assurance”. It was concluded that the claim was misleading by ambiguity and implication. Also, the claim exploits consumers’ lack of experience and knowledge.
- Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Family Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “We have provided successful treatments for more than ten lakh patients in 142 cities for hairfall, skin disorder, allergy, breathlessness, gastric disorder, women’s issues, high sugar levels, joint aches, obesity, sexual problems, thyroid and other health problems for people of all ages”, were not substantiated with supporting evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration. Also, specific to the claim related to successful treatment of sexual problems, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. In addition, specific to the claims related to successful treatment for Diabetes (high sugar levels) and obesity, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
2. Nova Pulse IVF Clinic Private Limited (Nova IVI Fertility): The advertisement’s claim, “Over 10,000 IVF pregnancies” was not substantiated with any authentic evidence, independent audit or verification certificate, and is misleading.
- Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt. Ltd. (Richfeel Trichology Centre Hair and Scalp Clinic-Hair Thinning Treatment-Anagrow): The advertisement’s claim was prominently displayed in the headline as “Grow your own hair for just Re.1”, with a visual of 1 rupee coin. However, the claim was qualified in the body copy of the advertisement as, “only Rs. 60,000/-”. It was concluded that the claim offering the service at Rs 1/- is misleading by ambiguity. Further, for the claim, “Fight 5 signs of hair thinning for just Re 1”, it was reviewed that the five signs referred to by the advertiser and further concluded that it is misleading to say that five signs of hair thinning are scanty hair, decreased volume, lack of hair growth, decreased density and hair loss. The claim, “Worlds first hair thinning treatment with plant stem cells’, was not substantiated with supporting evidence and with comparative data versus other hair thinning treatments available worldwide, and is misleading by exaggeration. Further, it was also concluded that the claim, “Anagrow is a treatment for hair volume and density. It does not grow new hair”, was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading by ambiguity.
- Swadesh Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “Get Government Job in 3 Months” was not substantiated with authentic supporting data such as detailed list of students who have been placed through their Institute in Government firms, contact details of students for verification, enrolment forms and appointment letters received by the students. Also, the claim is misleading by exaggeration.
- Orane Institute of Beauty & Wellness: The advertisement’s claim, “Largest network of beauty and wellness Institutes in Delhi-Punjab-Chandigarh-Gujarat-Rajasthan Haryana-Himachal Pradesh”, was not substantiated with comparative data to prove that they have the largest network than others in beauty education industry and is misleading by exaggeration. For the claim, “100% Job Assistance”, the CCC noted that the use of “100%” numerical is not relevant for “job assistance” claim, and is misleading by implication. The claim, “Beauty Professionals earning equivalent to Doctors”, was not substantiated with supporting evidence to prove that by and large whether beauty professionals are drawing salary equal to that of doctors. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
1. Bridgestone India Private Limited (Ecopia Tyres): The advertisement’s claim, “I emit lesser CO2 so you breathe easy”, was not substantiated. There was no reference to what the comparison is being made versus and whether the contribution of lesser emission of the advertised tyres is statistically significant or valid over the life period of the tyre in use to make such a claim or call the product as “eco-friendly”. Also the claim is misleading by exaggeration.
2. Bajaj Auto Ltd. (Bajaj Pulsar): In the advertisement, the rider is shown performing stunts in normal streets, market, traffic conditions – wheelie being shown in multiple places, including right amongst a group of people dancing. This is noted to be in contradictory to the disclaimer made in the advertisement – “These stunts have been performed under controlled environment at an isolated location”. It was concluded that regardless of the disclaimer, the specific visuals showing the stunts performed by the rider in normal traffic and/or in presence of bystanders and public encourages dangerous practices, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence and contravenes the ASCI Codes.
3. Aditya Birla Management Corporation P. Ltd. (Idea Cellular): The advertisement’s claim, “ek jaroori suchna! abhi call karen 53111 aur payen 50 Rs ka free recharge”, is false and misleading by omission as the free recharge was not being offered to every caller but subject to certain terms and conditions.
4. Philips Electronics India Ltd. (Philips Appliances): The advertisement of Philips Appliances stated life long free service, with terms and conditions which were incomprehensible and in an illegible font size. It was concluded that the disclaimers in the advertisement were not legible.
5. InterGlobe Aviation Limited (Indigo Airlines): The advertisement’s claim, “With fares starting at just Rs.858, book till 8th November 2016 for travel between 11th January 2017 and 11th April 2017”, is false as no such flight fare exists, and is misleading by ambiguity as there is no specific information about which route or for which flight this offer is available.