MUMBAI: In July 2013, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 177 ads. Most of the misleading ads were from the education sector and promising 100 per cent job placements was one of the recurring unsubstantiated claims made by the advertisers. This was followed by health and personal care category.
The CCC found following claims in print ads by 94 different advertisers were not substantiated violating the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence the complaints against ads by International Marine, Sri Balaji Education & Charitable Trust - Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering &Technology, National Institute of Event Management, Marine Engineering Training Institute, among many more were upheld.
Complaints were upheld because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100 per cent placement/and/or they claim to be the no.1 in their respective fields’ by the institutions.
In the second category, health and personal care product or service, the CCC found the claims in ads of 52 advertisers, released in the press to be either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating Chapter I of the ASCI Code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act.
For instance, the TVC of L’Oreal’s Garnier’s Pure Active Neem Face Wash claims that it is ‘enriched with real Neem’ and it is ‘the first ever face wash that removes pimples and marks’. Rich Feel Trichology Centre claims that they are ‘world's first hair thinning treatment with plant stem cell extracts , reduces hair fall , restores hair regeneration and increases hair growth’.
Other examples were of Ponds Age Miracle in print advertisement claiming ‘Look up to 10 years younger with disclaimer in small print ‘With regular use’. Nivea for Men Dark Spot Reduction in TVC claimed that the face wash has a 10X formula that removes dark spots and gives a spotless face
In the consumer durable category, the CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these six advertisements and cited in the complaints below were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I of the Code. For example, HUL’s PureIt Water Purifier in its TVC claimed that the ‘Use of PureIt and save money on three gas cylinders in a year’.
Complaint against Tata Teleservice ad was upheld as the CCC concluded that the claim, “Unlimited 3G data for Rs 250”, was misleading as the disclaimer mentions that “3G data would be upto 1 GB only”. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code. The super that appeared in the TVC was not clearly legible, thus contravening the Regulations of ASCI’s minimum lettering size of supers.
In the media sector, the CCC concluded that the claims made by Bennett Coleman & Co E-Samay has a circulation of over three Lakhs as of April 2013 in Kolkata’, ‘It retained more than 85 per cent after changeover from subscription to cover price’, ‘The paper is now the undisputed Number two Bengali daily’ were not adequately substantiated and were misleading. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.2 and I.4 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.
On the happier note, the newly launched consumer friendly website from ASCI has also shown encouraging results as almost 25 per cent of the total complaints were registered through the Online Complaint and Monitoring Service (OCMS). With this new service, consumers can now lodge complaints through the new ASCI website, ASCI Facebook page, email, smartphones, toll free telephone or regular post. Going forward, OCMS is going to play a crucial role in delivering transparency and speedy resolution of consumer complaints.