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CCPA warns against Covid-related misleading ads, says companies liable for punishment

Making claims without scientific backing can invite imprisonment up to two years and fine up to Rs 10 lakh, the Authority warned

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in an advisory issued on Wednesday, warned manufacturers and commercial establishments against taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic and resorting to ‘misleading advertisement’ to promote their products. Making claims such as ‘it boosts immunity’, ‘kills 99.99% germs’, ‘virus killing’ and ‘protects from Covid-19’ without any scientific credibility will be liable for punishment.

“...it appears that false claims are made to mislead the consumers for promotion of their product by taking advantage of the ongoing pandemic situation in the country,” the advisory states.

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The advisory notes that resorting to misleading advertisements is an unfair trade practice and an immediate concern of law. The punishment for this may range from imprisonment up to two years and/or fine up to Rs 10 lakh.

During the pandemic, many brands from various sectors such as water purifiers, paints, floor cleaner, apparels, disinfectants and furniture brought out advertisements, claiming that they can provide immunity from the coronavirus.

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Earlier this month, CCPA had issued show cause notices to these companies for misleading advertisements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CCPA was established on July 24, 2020, to regulate matters relating to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and false or misleading advertisements.

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