The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has recently passed an order against misleading advertisements of Sensodyne products which make the claims “Recommended by dentists worldwide” and “World’s No.1 sensitivity toothpaste”.
Earlier, February 9 2022, CCPA had passed an order directing discontinuation of advertisement of Sensodyne products which show endorsement by foreign dentists.
CCPA has ordered discontinuation of advertisements of Sensodyne products which make the claims “Recommended by dentists worldwide” and “World’s No.1 sensitivity toothpaste” within seven days and directed payment of a penalty of Rs 10,00,000. Also, advertisements which show endorsements by foreign dentists have been ordered to be discontinued as per the earlier order passed by CCPA.
CCPA had initiated suo-moto action against advertisement of Sensodyne products on various platforms including Television, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter showing dentists practicing outside India (practicing in the United Kingdom) endorsing the use of Sensodyne products namely Sensodyne Rapid Relief and Sensodyne Fresh Gel for protection against teeth sensitivity and making claims that Sensodyne is “Recommended by dentists worldwide”, “World’s No. 1 sensitivity toothpaste” and “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds”.
After examination of the response submitted by the company, CCPA observed that the two market surveys submitted by the company in support of its claims “Recommended by dentists worldwide” and “World’s No.1 sensitivity toothpaste” made in the advertisements were conducted only with dentists in India. No cogent study or material were submitted by the company to substantiate the claims made in the advertisements or indicate any worldwide prominence of Sensodyne products. Thus, the claims were observed to be bereft of any reason or justification.
With respect to the claim of “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds”, CCPA had written to the Drugs Controller General of India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to furnish its comments on the correctness of the claims made by the company. CDSCO has directed The Assistant Drug Controller, Licensing Authority, Silvassa to investigate the claims made by the company since the product in question is manufactured under cosmetic license granted by State Licensing Authority, Silvassa. The Assisting Drug Controller has written to CCPA stating that the claims made by the company are under investigation and further action will be initiated after the hearing process. In view of the communication received from CDSCO and Assistant Drug Controller, Licensing Authority, Silvassa as regards the claim of “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds”, the matter now rests with Assistant Drug Controller, State Licensing Authority, Silvassa.
In the wake of consumer sensitivity around Covid-19 pandemic, CCPA took stringent action against misleading advertisements whereby 13 companies withdrew their advertisements and 3 companies made corrective advertisements.
Further, to safeguard consumer interest against misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices, CCPA has also issued two advisories. The first advisory was issued on 20th January 2021 calling industry stakeholders to cease making misleading claims that take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic situation and are not supported by any competent and reliable scientific evidence. The second Advisory was issued on October 1st 2021, highlighting compliance of the provisions of Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2020 which require every marketplace e-commerce entity to prominently display all information provided to it by seller under Rule 6(5) including name, designation and contact information of the grievance officer of the seller.
CCPA has also issued two Safety Notices under Section 18(2)(j) of the Act alerting consumers against buying goods which do not hold without valid ISI Mark and violate the BIS standards directed for compulsory use by the Central Government. While the first Safety Notice was issued on 6th December 2021, in reference to Helmets, Pressure Cookers and Cooking gas cylinders, the second Safety Notice was issued on 16.12.2021 in reference to household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG etc.