What is a misleading advertisement?
Any advertisement or promotion through Television, Radio, or any other electronic media, Newspapers, Banners, Posters, Handbills, wall-writing etc. to misrepresent the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities so as to mislead the consumer could be broadly defined as a misleading advertisement.
When does an Advertisement become ?Misleading??
When an edible oil advertisement gives you the impression that you are free of heart problems so long as you are using that particular oil, then it is misrepresenting facts. When an advertisement of a water purifier that filters only bacteria (and not viruses) claims that it gives 100 percent safe water, then it is a false statement. When a cell phone service provider promises STD calls for 40 paise per minute, but omits to say that this rate is applicable only when calls are made to numbers serviced by the same provider, then it constitutes misrepresentation. When a manufacturer claims that the refrigerator marketed by him is the best or that it keeps the food inside germ-free, that claim should be backed by adequate data to substantiate the claim. Or else, it becomes a false statement. When an advertisement for a detergent says that it can remove grease in just one wash- it should be able to do just that and the manufacturer should be able to prove this. Or else, it is an incorrect statement or a false advertisement. When an advertisement promises to give you a ?free gift? every time you buy the advertised product, the free gift should really be so. If the manufacturer is recovering either fully or even partly, the cost of the so-called free gift, then the advertisement becomes false and misleading. If a retailer claims that he is offering a special discount on his goods as part of a festival celebration, while he is actually using the festival as an excuse to get rid of old and outdated goods, then he is deceiving consumers. When a toothpaste advertisement says that it prevents cavities, one expects the manufacturer to have the data to prove this. If he fails to do that, then he is making an unsubstantiated claim or a false statement. If an advertisement for a face cream claims that it removes dark spots on the face and even prevents them from coming back, the manufacturer should be able to prove this. Or else, it is a deceptive advertisement. Even reducing crucial information about the product to minute letters at the bottom of the advertisement could be termed as an unfair trade practice, particularly if such information is not intelligible to the consumer.
What do I do as a consumer when I see such advertisements?
You can register a complaint along with a copy / video / audio of such advertisement through the web portal of the GOI at http://gama.gov.in to bring it to the notice of the Government.
How do I register my complaint?
Step 1: A one-time registration is required for lodging a complaint. For registration, go to the web portal http://gama.gov.in and click on the login link and register yourself, verify through your email / mobile and create userid and password. Step 2: Using this user id and password, enter into the portal and fill in required details attaching necessary audio / video / paper clip / photograph (if available).
How do I track the status of my complaint?
Log in using user id and password and you can track the status.
What Action do I expect on my complaint?
Your complaint will be forwarded to the concerned authority for action against the misleading advertisement. For more information about Misleading advertisements and Advertising Standards Society of India pl see https://www.ascionline.org/index.php/faqs.html. For more information please visit http://gama.gov.in/Default.aspx