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ASCI calls out Snapdeal, OLX, Uber & others for false advertising


The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints (pdf) against 42 out of 79 advertisements brought to it in December 2015. These adverts belonged to various categories: 8 in personal and healthcare, 9 in education, 3 in telecom and broadband, 7 in ecommerce and 15 from other categories.

In ecommerce:

Seven Mantras advertisement’s claim ‘Delivery Charges Rs 99 extra’ was found to be false.

– Similarly, Snapdeal’s claim of ‘free delivery’ in its advertisement was not substantiated.

OLX India’s phrase “kahan se kharchega paise, baniye ka jo poot hai, aadhe khakhe diya daba jisme dry fruits ha” (From where will you spend money, given that you are son of a grocer, who sells half eaten boxes of dry fruits), was found to deride the baniya caste.

OLX also got flak for the visual of a police inspector riding a bike without a helmet in the advertisement, which was also called out as promoting unsafe practices.

KOOVS.com also caught the regulator’s eye, for displaying scenes of a girl jumping from the top floor into a shirt hanging in the air, and other such ‘dangerous’ jumps. It said that the ad “without justifiable reasons show and encourage dangerous practices, manifest a disregard for safety and encourage negligence”, regardless of the disclaimer displayed.

Uber’s ad, which claims to provide rides for ‘Rs 9 per km period’, was not substantiated and was misleading by omission of the additional charges for per minute/ per trip.

Mobikwik’s ad claiming ‘cashback offer’ was not substantiated.

In telecommunications and broadband:

Bharti Airtel’s ad that showcases a girl telling friends to use internet on their phone at night to get 50% cash back the next day, was found to be misleading. According the the regulator, the word “Cash Back” in the claim “50% cash back on night internet” is incorrect.

Airtel’s ad claiming ‘unlimited song downloads for free on Airtel’ was also found to be misleading by ambiguity about which data plan. The ad also does not mention the data charges will be applicable.

– Once again, Airtel’s ad that claims ‘50% data offer” from 12am to 6am did not carry the super in the ad in Hindi and did not display it for 4 seconds, violating ASCI guidelines on supers.

BBC World News claimed in its ad that “BARC says we are India’s No.1 English news brand”, which violates the guidelines of BARC under measurement & comparison and violates the ASCI code.

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver

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