MAM

Portal launched to help consumers complain against misleading ads

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NEW DELHI: A three-tier system has been constituted by the the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) to tackle the menace of misleading advertisements as part of its mission to address misleading advertisements and avoid unfair trade practices.

DoCA has partnered with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) as an executive arm to process the incoming consumer complaints.

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today launched the web portal GAMA (“Grievances against Misleading Advertisements”) at the National Conference on Consumer Rights in New Delhi to help this mission.

The collaboration will see joint efforts to evaluate and pass strictures against the violators. The six priority sectors that would be covered are agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce.

The complaints will be evaluated across media including print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters and billboards amongst others.

The complaints of misleading advertisements received on GAMA portal (gama.gov.in), will be handled in a three level-system: first by ASCI, in case of non-compliance by a sub-committee headed by the Joint Secretary DoCA under Inter Ministerial Monitoring Committee (IMMC) and finally the concerned regulator will take action in case of persistent offenders.

DoCA is also leveraging the network of Grahak Suvidha Kendra to make it easier for consumers in remote areas to complain.

DoCA additional secretary G Gurucharan said, "The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread - across sectors, mediums and geographies. DoCA's partnering with ASCI is an important step in empowering self-regulatory bodies and demonstrating “More Governance – Less Government."

ASCI chairman Narendra Ambwani added“We are very happy to have been entrusted with this responsibility by DoCA. GAMA portal will be very consumer friendly as one can track the status of the complaints which he or she registered on this portal.”

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