Online complaint service receives tremendous response from consumers. Most of the misleading ads were from the Education sector with promise of 100 per cent job placements. This was followed by the Health & Personal Care category
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | October 4, 2013
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 promise of 100 per cent job placements was one of the recurring unsubstantiated claims made by the advertisers. This was followed by Health & Personal Care category, where most of the upheld complaint ads were found misleading, or making false or unsubstantiated claims.
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 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.
HEALTH & PERSONAL CARE
The CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service 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. Complaints against the following ads were UPHELD.
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 the ads were UPHELD:
International Marine, IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd, Pacific Education Society, Kaizen Training Institute, Inset Computer Education, Kv Institute Of Management & Information Studies, Achieve Academy, Dolphin School Of Hotel Management, Indian Institute Of Hardware Technology, Amet University, Siddharth Classes, Sri Bhagwati P Memorial & Education Society, SITM (Jodhpur), S S Education Trust, International Institute of Fashion Designing Academy, Bright Academy, Jagdish Chandra Institute Of Modern Technology And Industrial Studies, Om Cad the Design Studio, EduEdge Coaching Classes, Asian Institute of Film & Media Studies, Career Defense Academy, Chate Group, NIIT Ltd. , S S Academy, The George Telegraph Group, National Classes: Paavai Institutions, VSB College of Engineering, Sumangal College of Business Administration, ICA Infotech Pvt. Ltd, Vista Mind, Alchemist, Anm Nursing Training School, Crucible Coaching Preeya Pariwar, NIMS coaching, Appin Technology Labs, Techno Campus Mobile Phone Institute Gujarat, Institute of Hotel Management IHM Meerut, Oriental Group of Hotel Management, Aditya Engineering & Pharmacy College,New Horizons Computer Learning Center, Amrita International Institute of Hotel Management,IIHT Computer Education, Sinhal Classes,National Institute of Event Management, NCFM Training Centre, IANT Computer Education, Apollo Group of College, IES Gate Academy,PT Education & Training Service, Cadd Centre India Private Ltd ,JK Shah Classes, XL Education Forum, Alpine Center, KPR School of Business, National Academy of Event Management & Development, International School of Telecom Technology & Management, Career Point, Columbia Group of Institute, Patna Sahib Group of College, Lords Institute of Management, Gloma Group of Institutes, Shanti Design School, Institute Of Business Studies & Research - Institute Of Management Studies, Xplora Design Skool, Royal Education Centre, Millia Educational Trust - Millia Institute Of Technology, Gyaan Computer Education - Tally Champs, Mahajana Tourism Development Institute, Shri Balaji Nursing Home & Health Training Center, Tirumalaa Study Centre, UPCIA Industrial Training Centre, Mehta Institute of Career Training, Chamunda Institute of Hotel Management, Subhas Bose Institute of Hotel Management, Global Group of Institute, CH Charan Singh Polytechnic, Creative Vision Technology, Excel Edu learning, NEITE College of Management, Sri Balaji Education & Charitable Trust - Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering &Technology, Sir Padampat Singhania University, Manda Institute of Technology, Nalanda Institute of Advance Studies, Kongu Arts & Science College, Calcutta Institute, Marine Engineering Training Institute, Jagriti Institute (Sikar), Bhanuka Institute of IT Education, GMS Institute, 3CM Infotech, Exxon Academy:
Complaints against advertisements of all the above educational institutes were UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND /OR they claim to be the no.1 in their respective fields’.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these 6 advertisements and cited in the complaints below were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I. of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
Tata Teleservices Ltd.: 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. The complaint was UPHELD.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd: The CCC concluded that the visual depiction of “a child with ink stained teeth and mouth”, is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm to them. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.2 (b) of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
ITC Limited: The CCC concluded that it shows a dark skinned girl feeling inferior or inadequate and subsequently attracting male attention on being fair and therefore the TVC derides people based on their colour. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.1 (b) of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd: The CCC concluded that the claims E-Samay has a circulation of over 3 Lakhs as of April 2013 in Kolkata’, ‘It retained more than 85% of after changeover from subscription to cover price’, ‘The paper is now the undisputed Number 2 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.
Audi India: (Audi Q3) in their print advertisement claimed ‘Audi Q3 at a price down payment of Rs. 6, 00,000 and 84 EMI’s of Rs. 38,000 only for ‘on-road price (with registration and insurance)’. The fine print below indicated that ‘this is a bullet scheme’, ‘Offer valid only on June 22 and June 23, 2013’.The claims were not substantiated The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd: Maruti Swift in the TVC showed a minor (boy wearing sun glasses) driving the Maruti Swift recklessly, albeit car being not in motion. The CCC concluded that the TVC shows unsafe and reckless driving. The advertisement contravened Clauses (b) and (c) of the Guidelines on Advertisements for Automobile Vehicles. The complaint was UPHELD.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these three advertisements were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the two advertisements cited below are offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency. The CCC found these two advertisements indecent, distasteful and were likely to cause grave or widespread offence. The advertisements contravened Chapter II of the Code. The complaints aginst them were UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the following advertisement is indirect advertising for products whose advertising is prohibited or restricted by law (Surrogate advertisements for liquor brands). The advertisements contravened Chapter III.6 of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
Finlandia Vodka: Alcohol brands or surrogates thereof are not legally permitted to advertise in India. This clearly falls foul of the law as Finlandia is a brand of vodka.
Rasna Private Limited: In their advertisement Rasna Nimbu Pani, the brand is positioned for children. While on the packaging, it is written that ‘The product contains artificial sweetener 'aspartame' not recommended for children’. The graphical design of Rasna Fruit Plus Lite – Nimbu Pani was too similar to the mother brand Rasna Fruit Plus. Rasna Fruit Plus range advertisement is positioned for children and has the brand ambassador Sehwag Hence children would not be in a position to understand the difference between the variants and would be induced to consume Rasna Fruit Plus Nimbu Pani which contains the ingredient “aspartame” which is not recommended for children. The product packaging contravened Chapter III.2 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the following four advertisements and cited in the complaints below were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
JMD Teleshopping: In their TVC, Madhu Sanjivani claims that it ‘provides 100% cure for Diabetes’, ‘Madhisanjeevani ingredient is imported from Africa’. In the absence of comments from the Advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims, “Provides 100% cure for Diabetes”, “Madhisanjeevani ingredient is imported from Africa”, were not substantiated. Also, the advertisement was in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and III.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Sky Star Advertising: Hair Building Fiber: The visuals make one believe that with the use of the product, one’s baldness is cured. This was not substantiated and was considered misleading. Also, the baldness related claim in the advertisement was in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.4 and III.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the following two advertisements below are not substantiated. They are distorted and have exaggerations that mislead consumers. The advertisements contravened Chapter I of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
Apple India Private Limited: In their advertisement Apple I Phones ‘offer for upgrade to IPHONE 4 - special student offer. The fine print says that ‘the buyback offer for non-students remains at Rs. 7000/- . Offer available on Apple Iphone4 8 Gb, Iphone 4S 16 GB, Iphone 5 16 GB, Iphone 5 32 GB, Iphone 5 64 GB only.’ From the above it is clear that one can have an exchange offer of its iPhone for Rs. 7000/- and get any of the models as listed in the advertisement. When the complainant visited the retail store at Image, I world, Jumbo electronics, all at Gurgaon malls, they refused to exchange as per the offer. They said that it is only on iPhone 4. They said that we have an Email from Apple that it is only on iPhone4. The advertisement is misleading. The Advertiser was granted additional lead time to respond as per their request; However, in the absence of comments from the Advertiser by the due date post extension, the CCC concluded that the advertisement contravened Chapter I.7 (c) of the Code (Non-fulfillment of advertised promise –Whether the Advertiser has taken prompt action to make good the deficiency to the consumer). The complaint was UPHELD.
Quit Smoking International Ltd: I Quit Smoking: The CCC concluded that the claims that the product ‘reduces the craving for nicotine and helps smokers by diminishing their desire to smoke’ were not substantiated with clinical study / data. The complaint was UPHELD.
NOT UPHELD: In July, CCC also received complaints against 11 other ads. Complaints were received against the advertisements of V-GUARD Industries Ltd: V-GUARD Invertors, Federal Brands Ltd: Live in Jeans, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Company Ltd: Godrej Air Conditioner, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd: Durex Condoms, Swatantra Power Pvt Ltd: Helios Inverter Batteries & Ups, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd.: Sensodyne Toothpaste, Mankind Pharma Limited: Manforce Condom Strawberry Flavor, Hyundai Motor India Limited: Hyundai i20: The ghost-buster, Hyundai Motor India Limited, Bharat Business Channel Limited: Videocon d2h, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Havells India Ltd: Havells Cable, Info Edge (India) Ltd, 123 Sesame Street Preschool, Tomtom India Ltd - Tomtom Via Series, Cadbury (India) Ltd – Bournvita, Star India P. Ltd. - Star Sports, Hindustan Unilever Ltd - Fair & Lovely Cream, Sony India - Sony Xperia Z Smart Phone, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd - Maharashtra Times – growing premium Marathi daily, Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd – White Tone Face Powder, Archies Perfumes, Lulu Australia, Kohinoor Business School, Dabur India Ltd - Dabur Red Toothpaste. However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines, the complaints were NOT UPHELD.